Kereesa's Reviews > Rockbound

Rockbound by Frank Parker Day
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Jan 03, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: eastern-canadian-seminar, canadian-love, 2011, romance, friendship
Read from November 06 to 14, 2011

Rockbound is the story of David, a fisherman in Canada's Nova Scotia, and his journey in becoming one of the people and fishers of Rockbound, a small island off the coast split by competing families who's hierarchies, hatreds, and actions lie at the heart of the people of Rockbound. Love, friendship, and tragedy occur in Parker Day's romantic view of the original Nova Scotian island Ironbound as the fictional character David faces his Goliath, and makes a place for himself on the cold, unforgiving rocks of the island.

Rockbound was another novel we were required to read in my seminar class, and sadly wasn't a favorite of mine nor the majority of the class's. (At least as far as I remember) In many ways, the novel is almost insulting to Canadians, especially from the Nova Scotia area, because of its romanticism about the fishing industry that is and isn't Nova Scotia. While I'm not going to go into a huge discussion about that, I just wanted to point it out in the context of a Maritime perspective on the piece, and how it fits into the accepted or as my seminar prof put it 'centralist' view of the Maritime provinces.

So the novel as a whole is a very slow build-up of characters, people, and the sense of place Day portrays. The story is very everyday as it mostly centers on David interactions with the sea and the fishermen he works with as well as his friendship with Gershome, the lighthouse caretaker. And, I'm not going to lie to you my lovely goodreads friends, I think I fell asleep like fifteen times while reading it. When actual conflict emerges, through the schoolteacher (and obviously educated) Mary's arrival and later love triangle? rectangle?, it's near the end of the novel, and doesn't really make up for the drawn out moments of folksy stories, ideas, and fishing.

I have to give props to Day for actually fleshing out a tragedy worthy of Shakespeare in those last few chapters that was, sadly, my favorite part of Rockbound, but on the whole the novel is slow, tedious, and so full of fishing and sailing technicalities it bored me to death.

Thematically, Rockbound is sort of biblical in it's depiction of temptation, the devil, and the whole David and Goliath idea that Day clearly estabilshes throughout the novel. It also contemplates both patriachal and matriarchal societies through the two feuding families, and even the nature of (possibly barbaric) blood feuds. It also considers the role of women, which was much more interesting, and how marriageble Mary and the prostitute Fanny were seen in different ways in relation to the men that pursued them.

All in all, Rockbound, much like many of the novels we've read in this class, was thematically and in relation to lit theory a wonder, but otherwise I wouldn't have gone out of my way to read it. Thankfully it wasn't crazily depressing. 2/5
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Reading Progress

11/07/2011 page 108
33.0% "narfle. depressing, poverty-stricken, filled with religious meaning, and blarg blarg about fish."
11/08/2011 page 200
61.0% "*smack head on table* so so bored."

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