Sweet Brackish Salt by Marike Finlay
Sweet Brackish Salt is a quest novel told from the perspective of a feminized gender non-conforming seafarer who works through various myths, encounters and kinds of water — sweet, brackish and salt — to arrive at a more robust and nuanced self-understanding.
Setting out in the off-season for the Great Lakes (Sweet), the narrator initially tries on various forms of idealized self-sufficiency and heroism typical of masculinist sea stories. Such projects soon founder, however, in the Chesapeake (Brackish), as she begins to learn what it means to navigate history and to care and take care in the face of life and death.
These lessons are not enough, though; it will take the help of an entire rural coastal community in Nova Scotia (Salt) to bring an old wooden schooner to life again, and along with it, another model for making, being and sailing. In this tale a skipper is not a hero but a diva who turns traumatic events into yarns; she can also only really sail away once she admits to how much she needs the company and support of others on land.