Praise for At the Waterline



“Brian is a talent, all right. Here’s a marvelous floating tribe of drifters and soul catchers, written with zest and grace at the waterline. While on board, wear a life jacket.”

Robin Cody, author of Ricochet River and Voyage of a Summer Sun

“At the Waterline is one of those books that hooks you on the first page but then slows down to reel you in. As the seemingly mundane events unfurl in the lives of an eccentric collection of river dwellers, Friesen’s novel gradually reveals a great truth: that every life—every life—hides remarkable drama and overpowering tragedy.”

Molly Gloss, author of The Jump-Off Creek and The Hearts of Horses

“Reading Brian K. Friesen’s At the Waterline is like witnessing a musical story performed at the piano for two hands—the baseline rhythm of river, current, wind, season, island, and boat all playing against the melodic shenanigans of the human: love, tragedy, secrets, the slow repair of a life, gruff age against brash youth, and the mysterious search for some hints of harmony through it all. Before reading the book I’d always wanted to live “on the water.” Now I have.”

Kim Stafford, author of 100 Tricks Every Boy Can Do: How My Brother Disappeared

“A quick and enjoyable read, especially for someone like myself who lived aboard for close to four decades. Friesen understands the dynamics of living on land and living afloat, and the commitment that’s required when a home is not a house. “You can’t stand with one foot on a dock and another on a boat for long,” he writes early in the story. While his characters lead dramatic lives, it’s the sensations of ordinary living aboard that captured me most: how it feels and sounds inside a boat, the way a passing outboard engine “filled the small room with its soft hum and then faded downstream,” how a passing wake takes time to reach you from across the water. The scenes of marina life ring true, from the helter-skelter arrangement of yachts, cabin cruisers, converted barges, and derelict boats, to the way people from every social and economic background—underclass to high privilege—find a balance that doesn’t exist in most land-bound neighborhoods. “It doesn’t matter how big or fancy your boat is,” says Jack, the crusty self-appointed harbormaster. “Life on the water just isn’t possible unless you’re hanging on to something else”—a statement that applies as much to the people on the dock as it does to lines and cleats.”

Migael Scherer, author of A Cruising Guide to Puget Sound and Sailing to Simplicity: Life Lessons Learned at Sea


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