Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Book Review: Land's End (a walk through Provincetown).

Michael Cunningham’s novel The hours was the connection of three women over different decades and how they manage with a day in their respective complex lives. It was well written and one of the few times that the film and the book were identical twins of one another. He writes in a style that is simple to read but it is not simple writing or subjects he is dealing with. Winning a Pulitzer prize is no simple feat.

In Land’s end, a non fiction work, his writing style is again apparent. He pieces together an array of stories, prose, history and his own experiences of Provincetown (or P town as it’s known – another example of simplification of a word - the laziness of today). The writer was blessed with being a ‘P town’ resident for more than just a summer on the cape (unlike most vistors there).

For those not in the know (or maybe I should say the ‘ho’) Provincetown is a gay (getaway) haven on the tip of the east coast of the USA. It’s a picturesque ex-fishing town full of salt box and cape cod cottages surrounded by the sea from all around as its at the end of a peninsula. Packed in summer and dead in winter, Michael literally writes about the town and its various incantations it takes on. Whether it is due to seasons, the remoteness, or just being the last stop at the (actual) end of the road this is not your average town.

Now the older I’m getting the more I want to know about the history. In this book some interesting facts emerge. For example the site of P town was actually where the pilgrims first landed before Plymouth Rock. However let me stress this to you that this book is not an historical record more so an overview of the town. Personally I would have liked to have read more of it's past but the author points out that it is merely another facet of the town uniqueness.

It is the accounts of the day to day running of the town that is the authors focus. From the A & P with gay cashiers (who double as drag queens at night) to the grand old town hall (the benches out the front used to be called the meat rack in the 70's), the old fishing wharf which was once the lifeblood of the town, the golden horde that is Marine Specialities (if you ever lost anything you’ll probably find it here) the ghost of art communes or simply the dunes, the sand and the sea, with all that interact with it.

It’s a lovely read with its never ending cast of its residents, or should I say all the driftwood that has managed to float in and out the bay itself, some staying more than a summer.

4 pilgrims out of 5

Thanks to the lovely Brigid lending me this copy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I like to shop with coupons at Lands End store....!