Calm at Sunset, Calm at Dawn A Novel

Paul Watkins




Trade Paperback

288 Pages



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Calm at Sunset, Calm at Dawn is a coming-of-age novel of ample beauty, insight, and intensity. Defying the wishes of his family, James Pfeiffer—twenty years old and newly expelled from college—heeds the call of the open waters off the Rhode Island coast. Joining the crew of a broken-down scallop trawler, James seeks to learn the ways of fishermen like his father. Through endless days of exhausting labor in the company of dangerous men, James learns shockingly brutal and unexpectedly sobering lessons. But as James discovers the secrets of his motley crewmembers, he realizes that every fisherman has his own reasons to love the sea, in all its promise and treachery.


Praise for Calm at Sunset, Calm at Dawn

"The raw elegance of human experience itself . . . Dazzlingly rendered . . . Watkins is an author whose work should be read with great respect."—Carolyn See, Los Angeles Times

"Intense and precise . . . First-rate . . . A book that will have a value and appeal for more than sea-story lovers. It is written out of acute feeling and experience, in the voice of an artful storyteller."—John Casey, Chicago Tribune

"Masterly . . . Follows in the tradition of John Steinbeck . . . The work of a young writer who is a force to be reckoned with."—Christian Science Monitor

"Calm at Sunset, Calm at Dawn is no romantic novel of crusty, taciturn fishermen with hearts of gold. The work is backbreaking and the sea merciless . . . Watkins is a good writer, and the evidence is everywhere on each page."—David Nicholson, The Washington Post Book World

"Paul Watkins has a fine ear . . . The scenes of shipboard life and the hardships suffered there are especially vivid, and the writing is lyrical without being strained."—Jack Flam, The Wall Street Journal

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Paul Watkins

  • Paul Watkins is the author of six books, including Night Over Day Over Night, which was published when he was twenty-three and was nominated for the prestigious Booker Prize. Calm at Sunset, Calm at Dawn was awarded Britain's Encore prize for best second novel. Archangel, his sixth book, is published by Picador. Watkins teaches and lives with his family in Princeton, New Jersey.