Book re­view “The Trawler­men”

The Gulf News (Port aux Basques) - - EDITORIAL - BY ROS­ALYN ROY THE GULF NEWS Ros­alyn.roy@gulfnews.ca Twit­ter: @tyger­lylly

PORT AUX BASQUES, NL – As a child Clarence Vau­tier used to hear many tales about the ad­ven­tures of fish­er­men and sailors. As an adult his in­ter­est in these leg­ends re­mained steady, and Vau­tier be­gan writing them down.

“My fa­ther spent his whole ca­reer in the fish­ery on the south­west coast,” said Vau­tier via satel­lite phone. The au­thor has also built a ca­reer at sea but as cap­tain of a cargo ship in­stead of f i s h i n g . “So as a kid grow­ing up I heard a lot of t h e s e s t o r i e s and ev­ery time you go to try to find s o m e - t h i n g , n o t h i n g was ever writ­ten about our area.”

Vau­tier at­tended the Marine In­sti­tute in 1994 and one day on a whim de­cided to see if he could find any records of some of the in­ci­dents he’d heard about over the years. He delved into archives at Best­selling au­thor and LaPoile na­tive Clarence Vau­tier has re­leased an­other col­lec­tion of sea sto­ries.

Me­mo­rial Univer­sity, news­pa­pers and be­gan vis­it­ing homes to hear sto­ries that had been passed down over gen­er­a­tions, even­tu­ally cob­bling to­gether data and un­cov­er­ing new sto­ries in the process.

“As I dug deeper I found out more stuff that had hap­pened,” said Vau­tier, who has so far found enough ma­te­rial for four nov­els, far more than he ini­tially ex­pected.

After re­leas­ing his first novel in 2001, peo­ple be­gan seek­ing him out to tell him their sto­ries, and when he re­turned home from sea he would re­search those sto­ries too. Usu­ally that process takes a few years, and once he has enough com­piled, Vau­tier likes to write

dur­ing his down time at work.

In his fourth novel “The Trawler­men” Vau­tier has delved into the fas­ci­nat­ing lives of some At­lantic sea cap­tains.

“I have a lot more sto­ries now so I’m think­ing I might write one more that would to­tally be geared around the long line fish­er­men,” said Vau­tier, who is In his fourth novel, “The Trawler­men”, Clarence Vau­tier guides the reader through the chal­lenges and tri­umphs faced by sea cap­tains on ships be­long­ing to large corporations and some of the men who worked un­der them. The story mat­ter is fas­ci­nat­ing and for those who love sto­ries about the per­ils of life spent work­ing on the wa­ter “The Trawler­men” de­liv­ers. There are the ex­pected sto­ries of men lost at sea dur­ing a time when fish­ing was the back­bone of the At­lantic prov­inces, but there are also tales of coura­geous

still weigh­ing the pros and cons of tak­ing on a fifth book.

While dig­i­tal archives and In­ter­net sources can help make re­search­ing faster, they aren’t al­ways as eas­ily ac­cessed as old news­pa­per clip­pings or fam­ily mem­bers. And as the old fish­er­men pass on they take cru­cial parts of the sto­ries with them, which in some cases have never res­cues. While the sub­ject mat­ter is truly fas­ci­nat­ing and Vau­tier’s love of them ob­vi­ous, the de­liv­ery is not that of a typ­i­cal hero nar­ra­tive but a his­tor­i­cal one.

These are for­got­ten tales re­dis­cov­ered and fi­nally shared, a trib­ute to the mem­o­ries of men and ships lost at sea and the fam­ily and friends they left be­hind. As such “The Trawler­men” ap­peals largely to those history buffs with an in­ter­est in sea far­ing and the At­lantic fish­ery, in­clud­ing dur­ing the time of both World Wars.

been shared with fam­ily mem­bers. It makes the re­search that much more chal­leng­ing, but Vau­tier be­lieves the long line fish­er­men have sto­ries that need telling too, just like the trawler­men.

“I’m go­ing to try for one more. I’d re­ally like to do it.”

PHOTO COURTESY OF CLARENCE VAU­TIER

The au­thor ith his crew on the deck of their cargo ship (from lefT) Sea­ward Her­ritt, Larry Meade, Cap­tain Clarence Vau­tier, Brent Wal­ters, Dave Buck­land, Dean Bob­bett and Terry An­der­son.

PHOTO COURTESY OF FLANKER PRESS

ROS­ALYN ROY / THE GULF NEWS

“The Trawler­men” is Clarence Vau­tier’s fourth book, ex­plor­ing the ad­ven­tur­ous lives of some of At­lantic Canada’s well­known sea cap­tains.

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