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Fisherman's Blues

A West African Community at Sea
Narrated by: Anna Badkhen
Length: 7 hrs and 50 mins
5 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Publisher's Summary

Named a Best Book of the Year by The Christian Science Monitor and Paste Magazine

An intimate account of life in a West African fishing village, tugged by currents ancient and modern, and dependent on an ocean that is being radically transformed.

The sea is broken, fishermen say. The sea is empty. The genii have taken the fish elsewhere.

For centuries, fishermen have launched their pirogues from the Senegalese port of Joal, where the fish used to be so plentiful a man could dip his hand into the grey-green ocean and pull one out as big as his thigh. But in an Atlantic decimated by overfishing and climate change, the fish are harder and harder to find. 

Here, Badkhen discovers, all boundaries are permeable - between land and sea, between myth and truth, even between storyteller and story. Fisherman's Blues immerses us in a community navigating a time of unprecedented environmental, economic, and cultural upheaval with resilience, ingenuity, and wonder. 

©2018 Anna Badkhen (P)2018 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

Fisherman’s Blues is a colorful and affecting portrait of an entire way of life, but it’s also a report from the front lines of a small industry in the twilight of a struggle it never thought it would even face, much less lose.... There isn’t any realistic light at the end of the story Badkhen tells. But readers can still be grateful for this graceful, perceptive account.” (Christian Science Monitor

“A profound account of a single community - its primary industries, religious beliefs, and rhythms...[it] unfolds like a novel, featuring well-drawn and sympathetic characters and show[s] how thoroughly the implications of environmental disaster seep into everyday life.” (The New Republic)
 

“A conventional account of life in Joal would be fascinating reading in and of itself - a crucial snapshot of an endangered lifestyle. What Badkhen has written instead is something more like a ghost, an incantation, a life captured in words. In powerful language shaped by the winds and tides, Badkhen not only describes the fishers’ lives but also imbues them with an energy that borders on the uncanny.” (Paste Magazine

“Badkhen is a spellbinding writer, her observations at once hypnotic and elegiac, witnessing a fragile community just barely getting by.” (Booklist)

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-26-18

a interesting subject made dull by narration

it was a bit floaty and not very precise or engaging. it read like a stream of concousiness