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Book details
  • Genre:FICTION
  • SubGenre:Sea Stories
  • Language:English
  • Pages:480
  • eBook ISBN:9781617925283

Captain Mullet and the Compass Rose

by Joel Ratner

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Henry Morgan Selmer was quite content in his bridgehouse, listening to old standards on his Zenith, pecking out his great American novel at a broken typewriter, and trying to ignore the world around him. But along comes Eddie Eye as his new apprentice and Henry’s world is capsized. In spite of their mutual disdain, ol' Captain Henry and Eddie have a number of misadventures with some well-seasoned diner waitresses, an obese lighthouse wickie, a homeless basket weaver, a pair of drunken bricklayers, a gaggle of leathernecked fishermen, a near-naked Buddhist monk, and some jackasses in an egg-yellow Camaro. Curse the pirates!! It’s a Florida vacation without the TSA pat-down, and a novel Ernest Hemingway would have hated."



"A witty story, rich with metaphor and humor, set in a tropical paradise. It's a sultry read with an ambling pace and some surprise reveals in the end."

"The author's style reminds me of Steinbeck."

"I belong to a bookclub where each member picks a book for the group to read, once a month. Often these books are historical or of some social import. I would pick this book just for the sheer enjoyment of it. It is one I will read again, but I wish it came in paperback. At least then I wouldn't worry about it falling in the bathtub like I do my kindle. :)"

"There’s a sweet, natural pace to the novel until suddenly, and delightfully, it crescendos in dramatic scenes involving a Camaro, high tide, a catamaran, a lighthouse, a naval ship, a bicycle and the drawbridge. When the dust settles, the characters emerge, redirected and renewed – an exceptional ending for an entertaining novel."

"...a great summer read."

About the author

"I set out to tell Captain Henry’s coming-of-age story. I’ve always believed that inside each of us is an angry, old man waiting his turn to speak out in defiance of progress and change. And this story is about such a man - an old sea captain-turned-drawbridge-tender who has come into his own - and who is alone in the world, by choice. If you ask him, he’ll tell you that the world he fought wars for has gone to hell in a hand-basket. After a life of service, he embarks on a quest for perspective, to figure out who is to blame for his perpetual misery. I’ve never been a fan of vast exposition. But I allowed the characters to “live” a little in this story – to allow their plot to unfold over time – in a more real way – through their casual conversation and the daily challenges they encounter over the course of a year – a year in which perspectives change for all. Unintentional connections appeared, symbolism and metaphor cropped up unexpectedly, and the characters each dealt with their own antagonist and their own inner conflicts, and the seaside beach town became a character in its own rite. Captain Mullet and Compass Rose is a story about characters determined to create their own plot one moment at a time, and my hope is that the reader will finish the book knowing the characters more deeply, find them endearing, perhaps miss them, and want to read it all over again. The book bridges a cultural gap between the “greatest generation” and a generation essentially raised by reality television, video games, and the Internet. There’s a deep rift between young and old, much wisdom to be gained in seeking a better understanding of each other, and breaking through the barriers that separate generations. The crux of the social disconnect is that both young and old – in general – feel increasingly irrelevant in the world. The characters in this story live out that conflict and more, to prove that nothing is irrelevant."

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