The author of The Secret Life of Lobsters, Trevor Corson has studied philosophy in China, resided in Buddhist temples in Japan, and worked on commercial fishing boats off the Maine coast. He has written for the Atlantic Monthly and the New York Times and is the only "sushi concierge" in the United States. He lives in New York City.
While the mating habits of the American lobster (Homarus americanus) may not initially strike readers as a scintillating topic, journalist Corson has skillfully interwoven the biological and personal aspects of these much-loved, tasty creatures into an informative and fascinating book (which arose from an essay that was published in the Atlantic Monthly). He addresses the contradictory nature of Maine's steadily rising lobster harvests with New England's rapidly failing fishing waters, teaching us about the lobster itself as well as the lives and work of Maine's lobster fishermen-a group of people who seemingly have figured out a way to guarantee the future of the very creatures they spend their lives harvesting. The two years Corson spent among the fishermen and biologists of Little Cranberry Island, ME, were fruitful ones, and this work brings to mind such natural history classics as William Warner's Beautiful Swimmers and Mark Kurlanksy's Cod. Recommended for all high school and academic libraries, particularly those with natural history and environmental history tracks of study.-Susan E. Brazer, Salisbury Univ. Lib., MD Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
In the 1980s, the lobster population in the waters off the coast of Maine was declining, threatening disaster for the state's lobster fishing industry. Government scientists attributed the drop-off to overfishing and recommended raising the minimum legal size of lobsters that could be harvested. Lobstermen disagreed, contending that their longstanding practice of returning oversized lobsters to the sea as brood stock would take care of the problem. In this intriguing and entertaining book, Corson, a journalist who has reported on such diverse subjects as organ transplants and Chinese sweatshops, brings together the often conflicting worlds of commercial lobstermen and marine scientists, showing how the two sides joined forces and tried for 15 years to solve the mystery of why the lobsters were disappearing. He brings the story to life by concentrating on the lobstermen and their families who live in one Maine fishing community, Little Cranberry Island, and alternating narratives of their lives with accounts of the research of scientists who, obsessed with the curious life of lobsters, conduct experiments that are often as strange and complex as the lobsters themselves. Corson provides more information about the lobster's unusual anatomy, eating habits and sex life than most readers will probably want to know, but he makes it all fascinating, especially when he juxtaposes observations of human behavior and descriptions of the social life of lobsters. However, by the end of the book, the answer to the puzzle remains elusive. Agent, Stuart Krichevsky. (June) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
"The Secret Life of Lobsters is so full of fun and
fascination that you'll be almost embarrassed to think that for all
these years all you ever knew about lobsters was how they taste.
Lobsters do so many remarkable things that you just might conclude
that the differences between people and lobsters are only skin
deep. Prepare to awe your friends as you regale them with details
from the depths--this book will make you seem a genius at your next
summer lawn party."--Carl Safina, author of Song for
the Blue Ocean and Eye of the Albatross
"[An] intriguing and entertaining book....Fascinating, especially when [Corson] juxtaposes human behavior and descriptions of the social life of lobsters."--Publishers Weekly
"[Corson] immediately captures and holds the reader's attention as he explains how lobsters live in their coastal environment--as learned by scientists, as seen by himself."--Boston Globe
"A fascinating story, blending science, politics and history...the writing is vivid."--USA Today
"An affectionate account of the relationship between Homarus americanus, its rocky habitat, and the men and women who brave long days on temperamental seas to earn a livelihood. This is a love story."--Christian Science Monitor
"By turns astonishing and humorous...The Secret Life of Lobsters is a rollicking oceanic odyssey punctuated by salt spray, melted butter, and predators lurking in the murky depths."--Marion (OH) Star
"Charmingly written, full of fascinating detail: a delight."--Kirkus Reviews
"Corson has skillfully interwoven the biological and personal aspects of these much loved, tasty creatures into an informative and fascinating book."--Library Journal
"Corson serves up a savory blend of history and science along with a satisfying course of lobster and human behavior."--Boston Herald
"Corson's readable portrait braids scientific history with a fisherman's view of a lobstering town, keeping one foot in the lab, one on the deck, and the other eight in the mysterious deep."--Boston magazine
"I believe that cooking is not only a craft but also a sacred art. When we choose to kill and cook a lobster, it can be a way of paying homage to the animal's life. In The Secret Life of Lobsters, Trevor Corson teaches us that the lobster has its own mysterious habits, sensitivity, and sensibilities, and that it deserves our respect when we bring it to our table."--Eric Ripert, executive chef and co-owner of Le Bernardin; author of A Return to Cooking and Le Bernardin Cookbook
"In The Secret Life of Lobsters, Trevor Corson opens a portal onto a fascinating underwater world. Fishermen, gourmets, and environmentalists alike take note -- the lobster is a strange and quirky creature, and proof positive that the ocean can be harvested responsibly. One source--comprehensive--Lobster 101!"--Linda Greenlaw, bestselling author of The Lobster Chronicles
"Lobster is served three ways in this fascinating book: by fisherman, scientist and the crustaceans themselves. . . . Corson, who worked aboard commercial lobster boats for two years, weaves together these three worlds. The human worlds are surely interesting; but they can't top the lobster life on the ocean floor."--Washington Post
"This book has something for everyone, from behavioral neuroscientists to those interested in the tensions between people who catch lobsters and people who want to preserve their habitat. . . . In the tradition of John McPhee. . . [Corson] seamlessly interweaves tales of lobster biology and ecology with ocean geology and geography, alternating these with sketches of lobstermen and scientists whose livelihoods and careers depend on understanding Homarius americanus."--Esther Sternberg, Science
"What a great book! This is a charming, funny, warm and informative look at Maine lobsters. . . . Treat yourself to this one--you won't be sorry."--Kingston Observer