It's not on any chart, but the tropical island of Cayo Loco is the perfect place to run away from all your problems. If you're looking for a license to chill, come along as cowboy Tully Mars takes his pony to the shore-on an unforgettable Caribbean adventure as colorful and wonderfully bizarre as cocktail hour at your favorite expatriate bar. From a lovely sunset sail in Punta Margarita to a wild spring-break foam party in San Pedro, Tully encounters an assortment of treasure hunters, rock stars, sailors, seaplane pilots, pirates, and even a ghost or two. Waking from a ganja buzz on the beach in Tulum, Tully can't believe his eyes when a 142-foot schooner emerges out of the ocean mist. At its helm is Cleopatra Highbourne, the eccentric 101-year-old sea captain who will take him to a lighthouse on a salty piece of land that will change his life forever. Once again, master storyteller Jimmy Buffett weaves a mesmerizing tale that combines both humor and emotional reflection. After all, one man's cathedral is another man's fishing hole. And in Jimmy Buffett's world, paradise is just a state of mind. After more than two decades of recording and performing music, popular singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett splashed down into the world of books in 1988, when he cowrote The Jolly Mon, a children's book, with his daughter Savannah Jane Buffett, who was then six. In 1989 he published his first stories for adults in Tales from Margaritaville: Fictional Facts and Factual Fictions, which was the longest-running New York Times and Publishers Weekly bestseller of that entire year. His next book, the novel Where Is Joe Merchant?, immediately hit #1 on the New York Times bestseller list, and in 1998, when his autobiographical book A Pirate Looks at Fifty was published, he became one of only six writers to have held the #1 position in the categories of both fiction and nonfiction on the New York Times bestseller list.
There's a Conde Nast Traveler article fighting to get out of bestseller Buffett's first new novel in a decade, a groovily laid-back, ramblingly anecdotal, sun-soaked bit of Caribbean escapism that his Parrothead fans will relish like another chorus of "Margaritaville." Tully Mars, a 40-ish ex-cowboy turned guide at the Lost Boys Fishing Lodge island resort, undertakes various sojourns around the Caribbean, to Mayan ruins, a jungle safari camp, a spring break bacchanal in Belize. Nothing much happens--"That day, we spent the rest of the daylight hours on the shallow waters of Ascension Bay and the lagoon amid incredible natural beauty unlike anything I had ever seen before" is about as busy as it gets--except that Tully meets a parade of colorful natives and expatriates, including a Mayan medicine man, a British commando and a 103-year-old woman who skippers a sailing schooner and wants to restore a historic lighthouse on Cayo Loco, the titular island. The characters are all hospitality entrepreneurs, and Buffett (A Pirate Looks at Fifty) also gives them shaggy-dog anecdotes, tidbits of Caribbean history and desultory life lessons to relate. There are glimmers of plot--bounty hunters, loves lost and found--but mostly Tully has little to do but savor the accommodations and atmospherics of tourist locales while the sea washes him with waves of love, happiness and maturity as infallibly as the tides. This book is as cheery and tropical as Buffet's music.
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Little, Brown and Company
November 06, 2005
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