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hooked and jerked overboard. Swordfishing requires staying at sea for four or five weeks at a time, sometimes making no money, and at other times hitting the jackpot. Swordfishermen are an especially hard-bitten, fatalistic lot, who often carouse in port for a week or so before going back out to sea. They may earn five thousand dollars from a haul, much of which they manage to blow while ashore, bouncing between the three fishermen bars of Gloucester. At times, so many ebullient fishermen are buying rounds for the house that the bartenders put out plastic token bottles so the beer doesn't get hot. The "perfect storm" itself resulted from the uncommon coincidence of an arctic eddy, or anticyclone, that created a low-pressure trough along its front, being met by a mature Hurricane Grace coming up from the south. This created something like two giant meteorological gears, called nor'easters by New Englanders , spinning everything between them toward the shoreline of North America, generating one-hundred foot waves capable of blowing out inch-thick porthole glass, drowning engines, or picking up a loaded boat like the Andrea Gail and flipping her end over end. Even when she made it up and over such waves, at any time she could careen down the other side and simply punch into the sea and never resurface. Junger is fascinated by the archetypal elements of his story—the experience inside a sinking ship, what it's like to drown—but he generally maintains enough distance from such subjects to avoid becoming morbid. The author himself is a New Englander , not accustomed to being in the limelight, who does not enjoy staying in motels and hotels and taking expensive taxis. Junger apparently feels more at home sleeping in his tent and prefers hitchhiking over expensive cab rides. His harried publicist at WW. Norton is said to have pleaded with him in a recent phone conversation, "Please take the taxi. You can afford it. You're number three on the best-seller list!" The Perfect Storm is in the tradition of John McPhee—sturdy English prose, a fine sense of rhetoric and drama employed to describe extraordinary forces in nature. I highly recommend it. (SM) Celibates & Other Lovers by Walter Keady MacMurray & Beck, 1997, 225 pp., $20 In Walter Keady's first novel, Celibates & Other Lovers, the comedy comes from the characters' incongruities , as saintly types harbor sinful longings and former sinners try to become saints. Fearfully pious Phelim O'Brian receives the Divine Call of priesthood, yet he longs for the evil delights of the flesh, particularly for the soft, fair skin of redheaded Catherine McGrath. Sensual, good-natured Philpot Emmet, or "Pisspot," as he is called in school, inherits, from his father's family, a "powerful libidinous strain." Despite the verbal castigations of his schoolmaster father, he has countless love affairs before becoming a devout Catholic and family man— for awhile anyway. 222 · The Missouri Review Set in Creevagh, Ireland, in the years right after World War II, Keady's book depicts a village that fears the wrath of a vengeful God, the spread of the yellow peril, Communism , and the talk of its own gossips . A product of Irish farm life himself, Keady writes about small town agrarian existence with respect and humor. His insight, declared early in the novel, that "a man's plans are subject to change when warranted by events," is borne out by the lives of his characters. Like Phelim and Philpot, the other inhabitants of Creevagh seldom get what they want, even though they struggle laboriously. Shy, soft-spoken Seamus Laffey wants to marry dreamy-eyed Eileen Maille, who wants to date the freckled townie who owns a fancy motorcar. City councilor Jack Higgins aspires to a more lucrative position, but his bank roller and most powerful political connection, Martin Mulligan, dies, leaving his future uncertain. And Phelim's Catherine McGrath does not want to give over her strapping young fellow to God. Overcome with passion, she asks why priests, who are "heirs to the flesh" as much as anyone, are forbidden to do "what nature was forever screaming out for." When Creevagh's most eligible bachelor, Timmy Mulligan...


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