“Nothing else mattered but being here in this glorious place, being gloriously free to go gloriously broke. Sure we had to make a living, but it was so much more than that—each in our own way was answering the call of the wild. Some more renegade, more educated, more spiritual, more rough-around-the-edges than others, but we were all members of an ancient tribe that had already begun its descent along with a way of life that would soon be lost to the world. And I would hold that fierce glory in my heart forever.”
~ except from “The Fisher Queen“
It’s 1981, and Sylvia Taylor has signed on as rookie deckhand on a wallowy 40-foot salmon troller. Looking forward to making money for university, she is determined to master the ins and outs of fishing some of the most dangerous waters in the world: the Graveyard of the Pacific. For four months, she helps navigate the waters off northern Vancouver Island, learning the ways of fisherfolk and the habitat in which they breathe, sleep and survive.
The politics of selling fish, the basics of tying gear, near-death experiences, endless boat troubles, the emotional perils of sharing cramped quarters—all are part of a steep and unforgiving learning curve. Taylor’s story captures the reality of life on a fishboat and documents the end of an era, a time when the fishing industry wasn’t yet marred by unchecked overfishing or hyper-regulation. Her lyrical, simple prose explores the tight-knit relationship of fishers with the west coast’s wild, untamed waters. Her memoir bursts with all the humour and hell, peace and upheaval that is the Pacific Ocean.
“At its heart, The Fisher Queen is about humanity’s oldest story: the primeval quest of the hunter. Sylvia Taylor’s evocative memoir recounts this ancient tale in the form of a summer sojourn aboard a commercial fishing boat in pursuit of salmon. Her panoramic prose is as rhythmic as the swells she sails on. Along the way, Taylor reveals her own rite of passage, an unforgettable odyssey of love, loneliness and longing.”
— Eric Enno Tamm, author of Beyond the Outer Shores: The Untold Odyssey of Ed Ricketts, the Pioneering Ecologist Who Inspired John Steinbeck and Joseph Campbell
Paperback: 192 pages Publisher: Heritage House Publishing Co. Ltd. (Aug 15 2012) ISBN: 978-1927051535 Book Dimensions: 21.6 x 14 x 0.6 cm Available at: Chapters, Indigo Books, Amazon, iStore, BC Ferries, Costco, Independent Bookstores and Heritage House Publishing
“This authentic adventure is the courageous Sylvia Taylor’s marvelous eulogy to a lost way of life.”
— Rupert Macnee, television and documentary producer, Darwin’s Brave New World and The Inside Passage
Sylvia Taylor reads from “The Fisher Queen”
“Sylvia Taylor’s engaging story of a young woman testing herself in a traditional man’s world is a darn good read.”
— Anthony Dalton, author of The Graveyard of the Pacific and A Long, Dangerous Coastline