Salt Story of Sea-Dogs and Fisherwomen
In this warm, lively, salty account of living on and by the sea, Drummond writes of fishing and feuds, of life as an apprentice fisherwoman, and of all the fish that got away.
Salt Story pays homage to sea-dogs, fisherwomen, oystermen and storytellers everywhere.
‘Too few writers capture the essence of now: the flavour, smell, feel, language. But Sarah Drummond has done it. This is real, but you know this way of life won’t last. Her account of a fishing community on the south coast of Western Australia is a gift. Salt—a real person but not his real name—delivers his philosophy while teaching Sarah the tricks, craft and dodges of making a living from the sea. Salt should be sent to lecture in the corridors of Canberra and corporate board rooms.
Let me shre one of my favourite descriptions in this book, for this is a book of poetic language and earthy salty colloquialisms and rustic sepia drawings melded into a beautiful narrative: (p. 25) “Wheat silos, smooth white chrysalids, stood among the praying mantis gantry and chugging conveyor belts, orange lights, steaming mountains of woodchips, ships high on the water out in the Sound. All night, the port worked to clear the backlog. Ships in, ships out. Breathe in, breath out.” This is just one example of the visual writing that is Salt Story. I can see so clearly in my mind’s eye this large metal Praying Mantis – the description is just perfect!
This is a beautifully written story filled with personal accounts of small scale commercial fishing in the town of Albany Western Australia, a life and a community you can feel is on the brink of extinction…or is it? Small scale commercial (Estuarine fishing in this case) are largely family run business and as such have a vested interested in keeping fish stocks at a sustainable level for the next generations.
Snapshots of life in this community are told in a real and personal way, Sarah Drummond spent many years working an unofficial apprenticeship with a larger than life local fisherman, “Salt” – this is their story, their history and a glimpse of a world so few of us will experience or happen upon.
And did I mention the illustrations in this book? I fell in love with these sepia reproductions – a piece of history in themselves.
A thoroughly enjoyable read told with passion and integrity. This is creative memoir at its best.
(image – Salt Story – Same Tribe As Me – Introduction)