Author Joseph Crosby Lincoln came across my radar about a year ago so I jumped at the chance to download a free copy of Cape Cod Stories on my new Kindle. What a lovely surprise.
Lincoln was born in Cape Cod, Massachusetts in 1870 to a family of seamen and his books reflect his heritage. The stories in this particular book are told from the point of view of elderly Barzilla Wingate and his old friend, Cap’n Jonadab Wixon. Most center around the old hotel they run and the tourists who stay there.
The chapters are written in informal, folksy language, much of it with allusions to ships and sailing. Their tone had me chuckling all the way through the book.
Maudina was like her name, pretty, but sort of soft and mushy. She had big blue eyes and a baby face, and her principal cargo was poetry. She had a deckload of it, and she’d heave it overboard every time the wind changed.
He run up to the piazza like a clipper coming into port.
We got there after a spell and set down on the big piazza with our souls full of gratitude and our boots full of sand.
[Referring to a dangerous boat trip in a cutting February wind] I expected every minute to land in the hereafter, and it got so that the prospect looked kind of inviting, if only to get somewhere where ‘twas warm.
Two of the stories in the middle of the book did not ring true. Instead of staying on sure New England soil, Lincoln placed these stories in the islands near Malaysia and Singapore. The themes of these stories were pretty far-fetched and made the islanders look like idiots. There were also some unfortunate, though rare, derogatory terms for African-Americans. I was glad when the stories returned to their original style and subjects for the second half of the book.
For humorous, light reading, Joseph C. Lincoln is my new favorite. Delightful!