Description

Four Thousand Hooks

Dean Adams

  • Published: 2013
  • Subject Listing: Memoir, Northwest History
  • Bibliographic information: 264 pp., 6 x 9 in.
  • Contents

As Four Thousand Hooks opens, an Alaskan fishing schooner is sinking. It is the summer of 1972, and the sixteen-year-old narrator is at the helm. Backtracking from the gripping prologue, Dean Adams tells how he came to be a crew member on the Grant and unfolds a tale of adventure that reads like a novel - with drama, conflict, and resonant portrayals of halibut fishing, his ragtag shipmates, maritime Alaska, and the ambiguities of family life.

At sea, the Grant's crew teach Dean the daily tasks of baiting thousands of longline hooks and handling the catch, and on shore they lead him through the seedy bars and guilty pleasures of Kodiak. Exhausted by twenty-hour workdays and awed by the ocean's raw power, he observes examples of human courage and vulnerability and emerges with a deeper knowledge of himself and the world.

Four Thousand Hooks is both an absorbing adventure story and a rich ethnography of a way of life and work that has sustained Northwest families for generations. This coming of age story will appeal to readers-including young adults-interested in ocean adventures, commercial fishing, maritime life, and the Northwest Coast.
Dean Adams went on to become the captain of his own fishing boat and to earn bachelor's and master's degrees from the School of Aquatic and Fishery Science at the University of Washington. He and his family live in Seattle and Kerikeri, New Zealand.

"A real-life account of a young man's first season working as a crew member on his uncle's commercial fishing boat in the 1970s. Adams tells of the drunken shore leave, the surprising gentleness and understanding between crew members, and the rough but careful teaching of any new crew member to be part of a team upon which one sometimes had to depend for one's survival."
-Margaret Willson, author of Dance Lest We All Fall Down: Breaking the Cycles of Poverty in Brazil and Beyond
Reviews

"'Hooks' has the feel of an honest memoir, valuable for its precision in describing fishing methods, crew interactions, and what Adams thought and felt . . ."
-Scott Bowlen, Ketchikan Daily News

"Four Thousand Hooks is a marvellous loss-of-innocence book, informative, enjoyable and well worth reading."
-Irene Wanner, Seattle Times, November 2012

"His first-hand accounts come alive on the pages, where the reader is swept into the story with the narrator. . . . The foreshadowing and timing of the story makes it difficult to stop . . ."
-Christy Olsen Field, Norwegian American Weekly, October 2012

"Four Thousand Hooks says a lot about our ability to meet extraordinary challenges, and suggests that maybe we're all stronger and more capable than we realize. [It's] filled with fascinating details of the fishing life, makes for awfully good reading."
-National Fisherman, October 15, 2013

""The well-honed prose tells a good story and one is encouraged to turn the pages to see what happens next. This is not only a very readable book but an important record of a particular type of fishing."
-Arthur G. Credland, Mariners Mirror

"Four Thousand Hooks is one teenage boy's dramatic, yet humorous, coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of Alaskan maritime culture . . . a vivid picture of life and commercial fishing conditions in Alaska. . ."
-Jennifer Huffman, Independent Publisher, February 2013

"This is pure adventure. Dean's story is...sinewy and spare, understated and often gorgeously written."
-Ethan Gilsdorf, Boston Globe, October 2012

"Four Thousand Hooks [is] one of the best books about commercial fishing in Alaska. The author began long-lining for halibut at age fifteen and went on to captain his own vessel: it is a great book for anyone interested in life on a commercial fishing vessel."
-Charlotte Glover, Southeast Sea Kayaks Blog