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The Lobster Kings

by Alexi Zentner

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14831133,182 (3.49)33
The Kings family has lived on Loosewood Island for 300 years, and they've been blessed with the bounty of the sea. But for the Kings', every blessing comes with a curse. Woody is the leader of the island's lobster fishing community and the family patriarch. Cordelia, his oldest of three daughters, stands to inherit the crown. To do so, however, she has to fend off meth dealers from the mainland while navigating sibling rivalry and her own heart when she falls in love with her sternman.… (more)
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    A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley (kjgormley)
    kjgormley: They are both King Lear retellings.

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» See also 33 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
I really liked this book. It tells the story of a lobster fishing family, their sibling and parental relationships, and even has a little touch of the mystical. Well written, a strong female main character, good dialog.....an enjoyable read. ( )
  Terrie2018 | Feb 21, 2020 |
To be fair - I did not finish this book. Stopped less than half. A REAL BUMMER. WAY TOO DEPRESSING!

Very well written however - just not for me. ( )
  repb | Mar 18, 2019 |
I seem to have an affinity for stories situated in the Maritime provinces, even though I have only ever been to PEI. Something about the simple yet often dangerous way of life and the remoteness from many modern conveniences makes for engrossing stories and fantastic characters.

The setting for this novel is more recent than most I have read, and yet the way of life still retains many aspects that are centuries old. I felt that the characters were well developed and the family relationships rang true. I didn't love the last little bit where things got very intense, but I still loved this novel! ( )
  Rdra1962 | Aug 1, 2018 |
From Amazon: “The Kings family has lived on Loosewood Island, Nova Scotia for three hundred years, blessed with the bounty of the sea. But for the Kings, this blessing comes with a curse: the loss of every first-born son. Now, Woody Kings, the leader of the island’s lobster fishing community and the family patriarch, teeters on the throne, and Cordelia, the oldest of Woody’s three daughters, stands to inherit the crown. To do so, however, she must defend her island against meth dealers from the mainland, while navigating sibling rivalry and the vulnerable nature of her own heart when she falls in love with her sternman. Inspired by Shakespeare’s King Lear, The Lobster Kings is the story of Cordelia’s struggle to maintain her island’s way of life in the face of danger from offshore, and the rich, looming, mythical legacy of her family’s namesake.”

This was excellent Atlantic Canadian literary fiction until it gave way into thriller mode at its climax.

4 stars ( )
  ParadisePorch | Jan 6, 2017 |
A book that promises much and fails to deliver. The depiction of the lobster fishing I enjoyed, discovering a world far from where I live, the prairies. The romance was tepid to hackneyed, and the references to King Lear while interesting, inevitably, this novel pales by comparison. ( )
  charlie68 | Nov 12, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
It bears noting that Zentner displays more talent and controlled craftsmanship in The Lobster Kings than many writers will manage in a career's worth of novels. The scope of his fictional creation, indicative of Canada's ongoing identity struggles in the 21{+s}t century, is as masterfully rendered as one of Brumfitt Kings' paintings. And like those stark paintings that rise up from the pages of the novel to provide Cordelia Kings insight in stepping forward into an untenable future, we can only hope that Zentner's mesmerizing novels will continue to reflect our own psychic discomforts back to us as oddly beautiful deliberations.
The Lobster Kings is purported to have been inspired by Shakespeare’s King Lear. In fact, through much of the book I found myself wondering whether Zentner and I had read the same play. (If high-school English feels like a long time ago, the Coles Notes version is that nearly everyone in Lear ends up dead or crazy.) There are drug-addled villains in Zentner’s story. There are dead bodies and severed fingers and a disturbing scene involving a rape. For heaven’s sake, a dog gets shot. But still, this novel does not even scratch the surface of the insanity and darkness in Lear. The references to Shakespeare tend to feel forced....The unnecessarily lofty Shakespeare buttresses do little to conceal Zentner’s storytelling talent, though...One of Zentner’s most marked authorial talents, a skill he has carried from his first novel to his second and will surely continue to grace us with, is the ability to create a place that seems real enough to live in, yet within which there is the possibility of magic that is just believable enough and entirely unbelievable at the same time. This is the sort of magic which reminds us of why the imagination is such a powerful force – stronger even than the ocean, and certainly vaster.
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This book is dedicated to all the men and women who work the water.

And to Laurie, Zoey, and Sabine.
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We're named the Kings, and we're the closest thing to royalty on Loosewood Island.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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