The Bay Rats
It is the 1970s and times are changing, even in places where people are as entrenched in their ways as those making their living digging, buying, and selling clams in the Great South Bay of New York’s Long Island. It isn’t just that the war in Vietnam is winding down or that disco has taken over the popular music scene or that a peanut farmer from Georgia is president, but that people who control a lot of business done in this enclave are changing what they do and how they do business. These are not necessarily good changes.
Bay, the story’s narrator, has made his living here for many years. He sits on a folding chair with a cooler of beer in the back of his truck parked by the pier. He buys clams from a wide variety of characters who stop by with their baskets of clams to sell or just happen by for a visit, and each of those characters seems to come with a story. Bay tells us those stories, recounting them one by one. They are all connected—a thread running through them, sometimes tenuous, frayed, and fuzzy, sometimes strong and easy to follow—but all leading to a stark and gritty conclusion.
Most families have an odd uncle or cousin who is the family storyteller, and when he has a bit to drink or a fresh victim, he will impart those stories full of oddball characters, each with a nickname or two. He seems to have a deep well to draw from. That is what this book is like—story after story being told from one very focused point of view with little showing of action or emotion. That said, the stories have a certain interest, and together they make for an entertaining few hours of reading.
|Author||Evert Bay Scott|
|Page Count||147 pages|
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