With her newest book, Bull Canyon, a Boatbuilder, a Writer and other Wildlife, Lin Pardey makes it clear why she has such a following among her sailing readers: she’s a great observer of human nature and a natural storyteller. In this case, she writes about the four years she and Larry spent living in the California hills while they were building Taleisin.
The focus in this book is primarily on the Pardeys’ developing relationship, the cast of colorful characters living nearby, family politics, the march of civilization into the California countryside, and the evolution of Lin’s career as a writer. Although many years have passed since their time in Bull Canyon, Lin remembers events in excellent detail and recreates each scene with humor and honesty.
Any storyteller must have stories to tell and Lin is able to find them by the bushel wherever she and Larry wander, whether on land or sea. These two have consistently chosen the road less taken, which just happens to be where the best stories occur. They wind up in out-of-the-mainstream places where other strong-minded individualists (characters in every sense of the word) tend to congregate. Bull Canyon in the late 1970s and early 1980s was one such place.
The Pardeys’ very special characteristics, emphasized in this book, are their can-do spirit and positive attitude. Their good-natured acceptance of complications and their ability to get things done with their own hands makes anything possible. As a result, these two have accomplished much in life.
They are not confounded when the house they’ll be living in leaks profusely and is overrun by rats. The road washes out and firestorms threaten. They dig in, fix up, make do, and enjoy almost every moment. When the going gets particularly tough, the Pardeys seem to gather people around and celebrate. As a result, Lin and Larry have been having a wonderful life together, one well worth telling about . . . and Lin tells it well.
This book, while of great interest to the Pardeys’ sailing fans, will also be read and enjoyed by non-sailors. With it, Lin the storyteller has bridged the divide between sailors and landsmen and will touch readers of every inclination.