Everett Peacock's Reviews > The Kinsman

The Kinsman by Gardner McKay
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Jul 13, 2011

it was amazing
Read from July 01 to 09, 2011 — I own a copy

This book introduced me to Mr. McKay.

I had no idea he and I had spent two decades on the same Hawaiian island, never having met in the same idyllic seas, he on his sailboat and me on my surfboard. I imagine I may have once spotted his sails full of a brisk tradewind off of Diamond Head that textured my waves as well as his with the same magical thrill, the same shared space in paradise.

Yet, we never formally met, until I read The Kinsman. There I found his conversation quite witty, his storytelling quick and filling and his mark on his world unique, compelling. That world, that slice of society, both his and his adopted, are places I honestly never knew existed. That alone made it a highly interesting read, but there was quite a bit more.

Every chapter moved quickly into the next, as if it were pushing me from behind, hurrying me along in a child-like game of wild-eyed exploration. I was late to several appointments and got a lot less sleep the week I read it, or rather the week it held me hostage to an intoxication of curiosity. It was one of those rare books where I found myself adamantly avoiding the last page, yet I turned to it faster than any of the others when its time came.

Now, that both he and I have left that Hawaiian island for farther shores I find myself feeling a bit of a loss at not having run into a small crowd surrounding him at some dinner party somewhere, discussing some adventure of his. I will imagine though that I did see his schooner catch the same ocean swell my surfboard did one afternoon under a dazzling tropical sun, he surfing an ocean roller and me sliding over a shallow reef.

Good storytelling like this enhances our limited world experiences, letting us live quite a bit larger than would ever be possible. Those stories we would be wise to revisit. One day I will re-read "The Kinsman" remembering how Gardner McKay introduced me to the thrill of sailing in much the same way that Hemingway showed my the magic in fishing the Gulf Stream.
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07/05/2016 marked as: read

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