Disasters at Sea

By James W. MacNutt

Recently published in New York, two stories are contained in the latest book, Disasters at Sea, written by local author James W. MacNutt. They are both accounts of shipwrecks off the coast of PEI, resulting in the loss of many lives.

The book contains a full novel entitled The Yankee Gale 1851 and a novella entitled The Mystery of The Kirk Bell Pealing 1853. They are written in the fictional history-style of writing, enabling an interpretation of the facts and animating those on land and at sea affected by the disasters.

Disasters at Sea unveils the poignant yet inspiring chronicle of Island residents, who, propelled by compassion, rallied to extend a lifeline to beleaguered seamen. Their unwavering aid echoed the noble deeds of the Newfoundland residents during the 9/11 crisis. With hearts brimming with empathy, they embarked on a mission of rescue, recovery, and honour for the fallen, manifesting an enduring maritime bond.

The narrative reflects on the ethos of neighbourly duty prevalent in 19th-century Atlantic Canada, highlighting a stark contrast against the seemingly indifferent response of the vessel owners in the aftermath, who appeared to evade accountability for the lost souls and shattered vessels. Disasters at Sea  navigates through the haunting whys of fate’s discernment amidst the storm, unearthing the profound human spirit that surges even amidst the darkest squalls, painting a timeless tableau of maritime valor and human resilience.

A book launch will be held at 6:30 pm on April 17 at the Charlottetown Library Learning Centre.