This book’s author spends a year learning the ins and outs of Tangier Island. He learns the people, the fishing industry (mainly crabs with a history of oysters), and their disappearing way of life due to the rising waters in the Bay. He begins by studying a history of the people on the island and exploring their differentness of what he is used to. This small town island where everyone is interconnected, is known by their nicknames, and have their own way of doing things. He is charmed by their quaintness.
Swift moves into the problems of the island, shrinking land, fishing problems, how a way of life is disappearing. Ooker and the rest of the older generation give him a history of how life used to be on the island. When an alternate form of revenue is available, the movie option with Kevin Costner and Paul Newman, the islanders vote to not allow filming because of the un-Christian scene of sex and a little added cursing. This is not a unanimous decision, and Paul Newman is even on a boat trying to change their minds.
The last part of the book tells the story of how Jason and Ed are shipwrecked and how the community rallies together to try to find them. The author is enamored with the community that knows what everyone is doing including tourists and how they all step up to try and save their fellow islanders. Jason is found but Ed is lost and the author finds the islanders heavy belief in God to be unique in this day and age. I find this not as unique myself coming from a small town where everyone knows everyone else. Change the sea to a farm and this book sounds a lot like home. Shrinking island vs. shrinking farms due to housing developments even.
The islanders do have a differing opinion on the environmental issues vs. the college scientists! They have attitude with someone telling them what they can and can’t do!