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Part the Hawser, Limn the Sea

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  74 ratings  ·  28 reviews
Five fascinating tales linked by the sea. An aging architect must decide to give up his grief, even if it means losing the vestiges of a lover's memory. An object of erotic fixation galvanizes men against the isolation of exile on a cruise liner. As he watches the disintegration of his picket-fence fantasy, an ex-soldier looks to the sea for absolution.

By turns urban and r
Paperback, 51 pages
Published March 18th 2014 by Chelsea Station Editions (first published February 7th 2014)
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 ·  74 ratings  ·  28 reviews

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Steve Sarner
Jan 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-star, fiction
When it comes to book discovery, Goodreads lived up to its promise big time with Part the Hawser, Lim the Sea. One of my goals this year is to broaden my reading horizons and this book certainly “sailed” me in a brand new direction. LGBT fiction was not at the top of my to read list but the reviews were solid and, after meeting the author, I thought it was time to try something different.

Lopez’s writing is captivating and fluid. I quickly connected with the characters and with every page became
Patrick Brown
Nov 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Disclosure: I know the author.

An engrossing collection of short stories that can be read on a long commute (side note: there should really be a series of books called Commuter Specials or something that can be read in one or two train rides). The stories are thematically related, but never in a forced or unnatural way. I admired the way Lopez could set a scene. Visual-heavy writing can get bogged down so easily, but these stories managed to feel buoyant (see what I did there) despite some great
Jan 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A deceptively easy read; I finished it quickly, but it will surely linger with me for a long while in the best possible way. The writing is rich and well-crafted, with excellent but not overwhelming attention to detail.

Like the sea itself, each story is by turns tragic, vast, erotic, passionate, and deceptively calm. Mr. Lopez's great strength in these stories is in injecting as much personal intimacy as universal themes of loneliness, desperation, hope and longing. You really feel like you kno
Nov 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Part the Pages, Read the Book! I literally stayed up all night long doing just that and I'm happy to report that after climbing aboard this ARC, there were no disappointments in sight.

First off, I really enjoyed the vagaries posed in the title story... the namelessness of the ship, the murky circumstances surrounding the all important poem scrawled on its innards, and the underpinnings of who these characters would prove to be apart from their apparent motivations. A more than solid opening piec
Ettore Pasquini
Nov 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
I loved all these short stories. The best thing about them (or what I'd like to remember of them) is the subtleties of the descriptions, especially those related to the ocean. They are suffused with peacefulness and slowness, just like watching waves go by, endlessly. The atmosphere, the sounds... you get the feel of being there and that alone is worth reading this book. The love for water (the best element) comes out so well that often I thought the writing didn't even need a story to support i ...more
Larry H
Mar 25, 2014 rated it liked it
I'd rate this collection 3.5 stars.

I've said many times before that I marvel at the way short stories can move you, or make you think, in just a small number of pages. Good stories often leave you wanting more—not that the stories necessarily feel unfinished, but rather they get you so hooked on the characters that you would love to spend more time with them.

Dan Lopez's short collection, Part the Hawser, Limn the Sea, included five reasonably short but intriguing stories, several of which I wish
Nov 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
These are excellent stories. The nautical setting of each of them provides a fresh and intriguing backdrop to themes of loss and self-discovery that are explored so well within these pages. Each story reminds the reader that to feel isolated in the company of others is, ironically, a common thing that unites us all even when we feel most alone.
Lee Houck
Jan 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Dan Lopez brings together an unforgettable collection of shaken, drifting characters with remarkable clarity. These heartbreaking stories reveal themselves unexpectedly, like hearing back from a note you stuffed in a bottle and tossed blindly out into the sea.
Katie Boyer
Nov 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
these stories sucked me in right away and left me wanting more!
Jun 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
I received this book as part of the Goodreads first reads program. I also received an origami boat. Neither of those facts have any influence on this review.

Short stories are tricky. You need to create a satisfying world in only a handful of pages. Short story collections are even trickier, as you create multiple worlds, often with nothing to do with one another, and try to get people invested in them all.

Dan Lopez does an admirable job in Part the Hawser, Limn the Sea. While his stories aren't
Nov 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Dan Lopez does a fantastic job on Part the Hawser, Limn the Sea. I devoured the stories one by one and then went back to linger over each of them. I have already loaned the book to a friend so she can enjoy the stories as much as I did. Do yourself a favor and read it!
Nov 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The author is my partner, so perhaps I would inevitably be won over by these stories. Beyond my bias, however, I think this is a fine collection of short fiction and a powerful debut. Lopez's wonderful ear for language allows him to breathe into these characters a life by turns quotidian, poignant and elegant.

What I really relish about the stories in this book is their unflinching look at the more troubled aspects of our relationships with others. Particularly the final story, "Volumes Set Agai
Paula ϟ
May 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This was a completely random pick from the library. I love short stories, so I didn't think twice about grabbing it up. I was unexpectedly impressed.
This collection of short stories contains the perfect amount of realism. We see an array of human emotions and the experiences feel so real. The nautical backdrop provides a unique link between the stories. I loved the writing style and the sense of mystery surrounding the characters. Although the stories stand on their own, the sequence they are pr
Jun 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
*Disclaimer: I won this book for free through Goodreads' giveaways*

Part the Hawser, Limn the Sea is a beautiful collection of short stories all focused around the waterways and seas that Mr. Lopez's characters are drawn to for their own reasons. Each tale is beautiful in its simplicity, the tone and voice for each a unique experience that really adds to the vignette we (the reader) are exploring.

The title story is my clear favorite, giving the fullest characters and richest scenes in so few word
Douglas  Jackson
Sep 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017
Good stories. Great title.
Jun 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I selected this book for the Lambda Lit Book Club when it came out. It was universally liked and brought about great discussion. So much is in this slim volume!
Ashley E
May 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads, m-m
I have a confession: I don't like short stories. I tend to avoid them at all costs. I like long, laden, hefty novels. I never would have read this if I hadn't won it. I'm so glad that didn't happen. I wouldn't missed out on some beautiful short stories.

Part the Hawser, Limn the Sea is a collection of melancholy, languid, bittersweet, heartful stories. I'm always interested in queerlit, which is why this collection caught my eye to begin with, but the author is delightfully subtle, and rather tha
Nov 11, 2013 rated it liked it
Disclaimer: I know the author.

TLDR; Them feels, man!

Long version:

These short stories are tied to each other by two ships: relationships and regular ships. I liked that there was some technical knowledge about ships in each story without boring the non-ship enthusiast about them. For those who are not interested in ships, the relationships between the characters are the star of the stories. I liked how the emotions of the characters seemed to mirror the feeling one gets on ships: from the claustr
Deanna #Ineedanotherread
May 25, 2015 rated it did not like it
I chose to read this book for the 2015 book challenge I am attempting. The category was Read a book by an author with your same initials. This was harder then expected and I ended up using my maiden name, D.L. Thankfully this was a very short book of short stories. Theses stories made no sense and only showed a brief moment in the characters life. All of the moments were very insignificant, which may have been the point, but made for very boring stories. The last story had the greatest potential ...more
Jun 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.
I am impressed with how much feeling and emotion went into 51 short pages. Each story grabs you and doesn't let go. Lust, Love, Pain, Heartache, Friendships and Discovery. This book has it all. I am so very glad I got the chance to read this book and get to know all of it's characters. I also like the writing style and how the author leaves the conclusions to the stories open for the readers own imagination. Not my usual type of read,
Scott Pomfret
This slim collection of very loosely connected stories -- the boat motif is all that binds them -- was a bit wooden for my taste. The stories seemed constructed and had little strong voice in them, and yet at the same time we're not plot-driven either, and thus seemed to dither around. Now, at a three-week remove from having read it, only a single character stands out -- the bitchy architect/journal writer whose fear of being abandoned caused him to write pages and pages and pages of journals ca ...more
Nov 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
This book packs quite a punch for its length! I found each story brilliantly crafted and populated with realistic characters experiencing specific-yet-oh-so-relatable trouble with their relationships and identity. It also works perfectly as a collection, curling around similar ideas without repeating itself (like the best collections do). I reached the end immediately wanting to go back and reread the first story to refresh my memory and dig into it more; the kind of book you want to read somewh ...more
Meghan Pochebit
Mar 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was a great collection of short stories that made me a little sad. The book's tone is gray, but in a thoughtful and contemplative sense. The stories aren't necessarily the "anchors aweigh!" variety I was expecting (and maybe hoping for). The book's more about water as a setting and I'm sure, if I thought about it long enough, as a metaphor. It's such a quick read and very worth it. ...more
Part the Hawser, Limn the Sea is a collection of short stories (...surprise, they're gay! and I'm not kidding about the surprise part!) with relatively gender-ambiguous narrators.

I found the first story (the namesake) to be quite moving and the rest rather so-so.
Kathy Piselli
Jul 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Love the nautical focus of stories that can be deceptively light but contain a fast punch. These are the kinds of short stories that add meaning each time they are read.
Tyrannosaurus regina
There was something really lovely and yearning and hopeful about all of these stories, people living and enduring and trying oh so hard.
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Mar 01, 2015
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Nov 03, 2018
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Dan Lopez lives in Santa Monica. His work has appeared in The Millions, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Collagist, Storychord, Mary Literary, Time Out New York, and Lambda Literary, among others.

You can follow him on Instagram and Twitter.

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