On July 20 at 7PM, Maine author Crash Barry will be appearing at the Jesup Memorial Library in Bar Harbor to present Tough Island: Live, a 45-minute monologue, replete with funny and honest renderings of his true stories from Matinicus, Maine’s most remote inhabited island. For additional information about the event contact the library @ 207-288-4245 or check the website @ www.jesup.lib.me.us.
Since publication in August 2011, Crash Barry’s memoir Tough Island: True Stories from Matinicus, Maine has received much critical acclaim. “If you want a romantic look at life on a Maine island you won’t find it here,” wrote the Progressive Review. “ Instead, you’ll get a striking account of an often bitter reality no longer a common part of the American story.” According to National Fisherman, the book is “a darkly humorous and unvarnished snapshot of the island and its inhabitants.” Down East magazine wrote, “Crash Barry grants his characters real dignity by treating the islanders as complicated individuals, the opposite of stereotypes.”
Matinicus, located twenty miles out to sea, is in the center of the richest lobster grounds in the world. Ever since the first white settler and notorious scoundrel Ebenezer Hall was scalped in 1757 by the local Indians who owned Matinicus, a mist of violence has loomed like low hanging fog, enshrouding the island in a bad reputation. Mostly because of a few loud, bad apples – Stabbings, arson, fisticuffs, sucker punches, cold-cocking, home invasions and destruction, murderous threats and name-calling, guns aimed, shots fired, people wounded — all part of island history and lore.
In 1991, as a young ex-Coast Guardsman, Crash Barry moved to Matinicus. Isolated and remote, the island was home to just 50 people. The state ferry visited nine times a year. Airplanes only landed when there was no rain, snow, sleet, darkness or fog. A world of heavy winds and vicious storms, where fervent sunrises and fiery sunsets painted forests, meadows, beaches and ledge with vibrant color — except when it was foggy, which was often from June to October.
Two years living in a fish shack didn’t make Crash Barry an expert on Matinicus, but it was a long enough immersion to recognize the distinctive nature of the place. Commercial Fishing News said “Tough Island will either have you intrigued enough by island life to delve deeper or turning up your collar and thanking your lucky stars you’ve never had to test yourself with the experience.”
In addition to Tough Island, Crash Barry is the author of the rollicking novel Sex, Drugs and Blueberries set in Washington County amid the Oxycontin-abuse epidemic. Crash Barry spent a decade as a print and radio reporter in Portland until receiving a writing fellowship from the Maine Arts Commission, which convinced him to pursue book-writing. His column One Maniac’s Meat appears monthly in The Bollard, a Portland newsmagazine. The Crash Report, his weekly column in the Portland Daily Sun, focuses on seamy side of Maine life and politics. He’s worked as a sternman, sailor, bartender, demolitionist, janitor, alpaca herdsman, cow milker and blueberry raker. He lives in the hills of western Maine. To learn more about Crash Barry, read selections from his books and his blog, visit crashbarry.com.
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