Title: Shooting Stars are the Flying Fish of the Night
By Lynn Michell and Stefan Gregory
Publisher: Linen Press
Although the book is full of technical details, mostly relevant to those who understand boats; it has enough of a human story behind it to make it a good read for a range of people. The story is woven from a joint narration by husband and wife team, Lynn Michell and Stefan Gregory. They both have their own unique way of looking at things, and the two voices complement each other well.
The book follows the pair (who are also joined by their son for most of the journey), from debating buying a boat, to deciding they definitely want to buy a boat, buying the boat and attempting to cross the ocean. The description of their struggles on the water is particularly heart-wrenching. Illness and weight loss threaten to destroy their attempt. The pair argue, but ultimately have to come together to finish their journey. As they sail their relationship also goes on a journey, and they both personally develop as humans.
Stephan compares sailing to writing ‘For me, the nearest land-based activity to this absorption in the sea is when the muse is dictating fluently and the pages follow one after another with complete immersion.’ Throughout the book the pair draw similarities between sailing and the couple’s main work- writing. They use the book to examine how the trip has affected them in retrospect. It reads almost like the mythical telling of a sea-crossing, mostly due to the communal narration, which is similar to a chorus of narrators.