When the body of Alison Goss washes up on Menhaden Island in the Gulf of Maine, the working-class fishing community with sharp-edged ways and salty prospects is faced with managing the future of her unusual son, faron.
They soon discover how different he is in strange yet endearing ways, including his incredible artistry.
Bound by time and sea, Menhaden’s kind-hearted, outspoken neighbors overlook Faron’s idiosyncrasies. But their nurturing embrace cannot completely erase his troubled past, which eventually turns into a life-changing event, forcing him to confront lingering memories.
Faron faces what haunts him, works as a stern man on a lobster boat and paints in his studio. When he meets an ornithologist who has returned to Menhaden to live in her grandparents’ house, his life takes another unexpected turn.
“To the men of the island, Alison Goss was an intriguing, raw beauty. To the women, she was a dark, willowy menace. So when she fell overboard and drowned by an after- calm, sunny noon in July, only some islanders cared. No one even knew she was missing until the next morning when Myron Sprague checked his lobster traps and found his canoe tangled in one of her sets, held up by an oar which was still fitted in her brass lock.Shortly afterwards, Alison herself drifted into the Gallager shipyard and found herself trapped between the pilings at low tide.
Hodie Ebel, the harbor master, found the body. Everything was stained with algae. Crabs and gulls had pulled and pecked at the swollen corpse – eyes gone – eye sockets cleaner than wild beasts picked by crows. Hodie tugged on his disheveled beard – a nervous habit – and entered the hardware store to find Jarry Gallager.
Jarry was hunched over a case of snaps and irons, swearing.
“What’s wrong?” Hodie asked.
“Sent the wrong things. Again.” Jarry’s stringy blonde hair still looked like it needed washing. He pushed her away from his face and glared at Hodie. “Need something?”
“You must use your phone.”
Jarry listened as Hodie called the sheriff to report the grisly discovery.
“Come on,” Hodie said, hanging up the phone. “It’s a two-person job.”
They got out and grabbed Alison with gaffs, dragged her up the ramp to the parking lot, covered her with a blue vinyl tarp, and went to Scuppers for an early lunch.
Praise for Faron Goss
“Readers seeking a poetic and evocative depiction of adulthood in a Maine lobster community will find Faron Goss a beautiful piece of literature. . . a tender and expressive story. . . reminiscent of the soft local color embedded in the best-selling Where the Crawdads sing.” —MBR
“With lively prose, Lechleitner portrays the beauty and hardships of life on the island of Menhaden, the intertwined relationships of its crisp but close-knit inhabitants, and the complex, unassuming boy who finds his way into their hearts. Faron Goss is, by all accounts, a fine first novel. —Darcie Chan, NYT bestselling author
Diane Lechleitner is an artist and writer who lives in Sleepy Hollow, New York.