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Michael Koepf   book cover  
Michael Koepf    
author scrapbook

The Fisherman's Son: an excerpt

  Michael Köepf's first novel, The Fisherman's Son, could be generously compared to the work of Herman Melville or Cormac McCarthy. It is similar in theme to Moby Dick or All the Pretty Horses: Köepf treats nature with reverential awe, and takes a nostalgiac view of a noble human trade, commercial fishing, which is becoming obsolete. However, in the abbreviated rhythm of his prose, and in the accumulating power of his story's details, Köepf shows a confidence in his narrative powers that best resembles Norman Mailer's in The Executioner's Song.

Like many great stories, The Fisherman's Son begins with a shipwrecked man, Neil Kruger, and continues through Kruger's recollections of early life at home. His father's struggle to make a living from the sea, and his gradual and painful estrangement from his mother, are revealed in muscular, hypnotic prose. In this issue of Bold Type, Köepf offers photographs drawn from his and his father's careers as fishermen, brief pieces about his life and his inspiration for The Fisherman's Son, and an excerpt from the book, in which the presence of a shark turns Neil Kruger's thoughts to a difficult time in his childhood.

Photo of Michael Köepf copyright © John Birchard

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