Friday, January 21, 2005

I mentioned earlier that I have been reading Jimmy Buffett's new book A Salty Piece of Land. (If you want to purchase it, please use the search box on the left.) I thought I'd give you my somewhat biased review.

The book chronicles the continuing adventures of Tully Mars, who first appeared in Jimmy's first book, Tales From Margaritaville, in a story called "Take Another Road." In that story, Tully Mars in a Wyoming cowboy whose ranch is taken over by a poodle breeder. Tully objects, and, after a fight with the owner that results in a borken plate glass window, he leaves to take his horse, Mr. Twain, to the shore. The story is a wonderful travel story that takes Tully from Wyoming, to Little Big Horn, to Hannibal, Missouri, to Heat Wave on Snake Bite Key (Setting for most of the rest of the stories), to the Caribbean. I like "Take Another Road." It's a great quest story that is heartwarming, and entertaining.

In the new book, Jimmy broadens Tully's character, almost to the point that he isn't the same person. In the story, Tully's only adventure in the big city was when he went to the set of the movie "Rancho Delux." In the book, he was a regular participant of the Cody, Wyoming Pioneer Days, went to visit an Indian shaman, and found a painting of the patron saint of lightning at a mall in some city.

The novel tells us that the new owner of the ranch has got a price on Tully's head, and that just before the final scene in the short story, Tully escaped the clutches of two of her bounty hunters.

Once more Jimmy writes a great travel story (Tully wanders around the Carribean getting into all sorts of trouble) to echo the one in "Take Another Road," but not really a quest story, because Tully's travels are a bit random. Finally Tully winds up working for Cleopatra Jones who wants to restore a lighthouse of Cayo Loco, but needs a fresnel lens. While Tully gets into one scrape after another, his friend, semi-famous musician Willy Singer (who is taking his seaplane on a 'round the world trip, and apparently wrote (at least in the book) "Trying to Reason with Hurricane Season") hunts down the lens.

My only major complaint is that all of the characters speak in Jimmy Buffet lyrics and song titles. I would bet that some of the lines are going to be on his next couple of albums. I don't think Jimmy's as strong a novelist as he is a short story writer, but I heartily recommend this book, expecially if your a fan!


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