The characters in Jack Greer’s Abraham’s Bay & Other Stories have set sail for islands in the Atlantic and Caribbean — some are restless, some curious, others are unhappy, while others are in love with roaming. Inevitably, these small boat sailors haul their personal histories along, their hubris, their failures, and their frustrations. Some sail alone, others are looking to reunite, while others are parting for good. Rather than record-breaking feats of circumnavigation, the stories of Abraham’s Bay dramatize ordinary struggles with self and sea, where the protagonists often seem to exist at the edges of the larger world.
In “Starting from Beaufort” a young couple is roiled with tensions as they ready themselves and their sailboat for their first venture into the Atlantic. In the title story, “Abraham’s Bay,” cardiologist Dan Bernstein, sailing among the islands by himself, is stranded one night and confronted by a menacing islander who forces him to defend his life choices. In “Souvenir’s Last Passage,” Nan Gray, in her sixties, faces a hostile boarding in the dead of night, and the nagging certainty that her husband is beginning to lose his memory and his mind.
Read “Souvenir’s Last Passage.”
Nearly all storytelling is about people setting out on journeys and encountering conflicts along the way — the compelling storyteller gives us insights into their character and brings us into their conflicts and struggles to resolve them. Jack Greer is a compelling storyteller — his lean narrative style is graceful and exact, anchored in a sailor’s competence that is always attentive to the sea and its beauty but also alert to its dangers
Jack Greer has spent most of his life on or around the Chesapeake Bay, having worked as a boat builder and, in his younger years, as a sailing instructor. He and his wife, Bobbie, live on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay in Edgewater, Maryland. They sailed their 31-foot Vindo sloop as far north as Newport and Block Island and as far south as the Dominican Republic. A poet and fiction writer, Greer has won two Individual Artist Awards from the Maryland State Arts Council, while another story won the annual Baltimore Artscape competition. He is a senior writer on marine science and policy for the University of Maryland Sea Grant College; for this work, he has been awarded two citations from the Governor of Maryland and a President’s award from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. Among his literary publications are America and Other Poems(Dryad Press).