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W.W. Norton Website

Dogfish Memory
A Memoir

Sailing in Search of Old Maine

Joseph A. Dane

The Maine dogfish are gone—fished to the brink of extinction. Gone too is Linda Jane, and with her the love and the subjunctive Maine that they might have shared. And what of that fabled “Old Maine”? Is it gone for good?

Dogfish Memory is the story of the search for an authentic Maine, a Maine of the past, whether historical or simply imagined, and a Maine of the present, one experienced by both permanent residents and seasonal ones—summerfolk. Joseph Dane is both. He has worked on commercial fishing boats as a local and he has sailed the coast for years like those who are “from away.” Dogfish Memory tells the story of how his often conflicting Maines are intertwined. Authentic Maine is elusive; stories and even photographs of a past Maine often contradict the memories of those who have lived through the changes they record. Dogfish Memory is thus the story of loss, the loss of a Maine recalled and imagined, and the loss of the love with which Maine is irrevocably associated.

“I have never seen a better illustration of how, spider-like and blind, we weave our lives, one tier to the next. I have never seen a memoir so aggressively honest. He wanted to create something true out of these bits of failure (and some glorious moments) and he has done that.”

—Susan Salter Reynolds, Los Angeles Times

“A poignant, wistful and complex book.”

—Chris Bohljalian, Washington Post Book World

“If you stick with it, you’ll be amply rewarded with glimpses into the musings of a capacious mind.”

Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Many of the sections have a subtle intensity that elevates them to prose poems.”

Publishers Weekly

“In its honesty, focus on family, and lyricism, Dogfish Memory reminds me of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and A River Runs Through It. And its unforgettable heroine, Linda Jane, is a true American original.”

—Howard Frank Mosher, author of Disappearances and Walking to Gaitlinburg

Joseph A. Dane is a native of Maine who, despite being a professor of English at the University of Southern California, returns to his family property in Maine to spend summers sailing the coastline. He divides his time between Los Angeles, CA, and Harpswell, ME.



June 2012
$16.95 (Can. $18.00)
978-1-58157-154-7
256 pages, paperback


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