Hatteras Blues

I’ve been re-reading Hatteras Blues: A Story from the Edge of America by Tom Carlson.

If you are unfamiliar with this splendid book, published in 2005 by The University of North Carolina Press www.uncpress.edu, it’d be worth your time to find a copy. It is part memoir, part personal quest, part history, part love story, part survival story, part fishing story; tightly woven and keenly written. With this effort Carlson matches the best in the business: Hemingway, Melville, Maclean . . . anyone.

For the sake of full disclosure I have a little history with the author. Dr. Tom Carlson was one of my English professors at the University of Memphis (Memphis State, when I attended) and he was as masterful in the classroom as he proved to be on a trout stream. He made American literature spring to life and did the same for fishing stories told around the campfire.

Beyond the classroom we became friends; fished together and camped together.

The first time I read Hatteras Blues I thought it was basically a book about the Outer Banks and the evolution of that unique region and fishery. And it is that. But it’s more. It’s a family story (Carlson’s and the Foster’s).  It’s about death and survival; emotional and physical.

But at its core Hatteras Blues is about the men who make us who we are. For Tom it was Jake Sanwald, Doc Meeker, Rocky Luciano, Stan Osborne, Bart Osborne, George Minier and Ed Frazee. For me it was Sam and L. D. and Jack and Ralph, Archie and Archie Jr., and a few others.

As you read Hatteras Blues – especially Chapter 7 and in particular the story on pages 124-5 – you’ll undoubtedly recall your own list of souls who helped mould yours.

Hatteras Blues is available in hardcopy and paperback from the publisher, Amazon www.amazon.com and other booksellers.