An account of Hurricane Gloria's 1985 ravaging of New York's Fire Island features interviews with survivors and a detailed history of this unique island environment
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Jiler (Wild Berry Moon, 1982) brings a novelist's approach to this ``true account'' of the impact of Hurricane Gloria on Fire Island in 1985--blending history, meteorology, and vivid character portraits to convey a sense not just of a natural disaster but of a unique setting (socially as well as geographically) in which the larger events took place. The narrative begins with the origins of hurricanes in the simple physical processes of hot air rising and cold air rushing in to replace it. But Jiler soon shifts the focus to Fire Island, that fashionable sandbar so close to the teeming streets of Manhattan yet so totally unlike them as to seem at times on another planet. To capture the spirit of the place, the author follows a small group of Fire Islanders who have in common little more than a decision to ride out the hurricane despite all warnings. Among them are Dana Wallace, photographer and horse trainer; Ferron Bell, artist and pioneer of the gay community; Wayne Duclos, AIDS victim; Martin Quartararo, who wanted to keep the party going on forever; and Bob and Alys Tyson, perhaps the last straight couple in the community of Fire Island Pines. Interspersed with their experiences are glimpses of the animal and bird life of the fragile barrier island, both before and during the storm. The different life stories of these various characters, drawn from in-depth interviews, are in many ways more interesting than the eventual arrival of the hurricane itself, which comes almost as an anticlimax. Ultimately less than the sum of its parts--but, still, a well-written and evocative account of a remarkable community of strong individuals faced with powerful external forces. (Twelve- page photo insert--not seen) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Library Journal:
This is an engaging story that reads like a novel, though it is nonfiction. On September 25, 1985, Hurricane Gloria hit landfall on Fire Island, a summer resort off the shore of Long Island, N.Y. While much of the East Coast was evacuated, several island residents, for various reasons, decided to stick it out. Journalist Jiler recounts what happened, but his book is more about the cultural history of Fire Island and its gay population than about its natural history (although the publisher has the book labeled as such). While he mentions the island's birds, trees, and deer, there are some inaccuracies (the Coriolis effect is not an old wives' tale; many birds do have keen hearing). Occasional coarse terms and descriptions are needlessly included but are not overly distracting. Acceptable for a social science collection, a gay collection, a Fire Island collection, but not for a natural history collection. Photos not seen. For another account of a hurricane's destructive impact, see William Price Fox's Luna tic Wind , LJ 9/1/92.--Ed.
- Nancy Moeckel, Miami Univ. Libs., Oxford, Ohio
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description St. Martin's Press, 1994. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110312109628
Book Description St Martins Pr, 1994. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0312109628