“Not since Jacques Cousteau has anyone brought us the sense of the ocean as our home . . . Far more than a science book.” —San Francisco Book Review
Gordon Chaplin’s father was a seemingly happy-go-lucky, charismatic adventurer who married a wealthy heiress and transformed himself into the author of a landmark scientific study, Fishes of the Bahamas. The book was published by the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, one of America's most esteemed scientific institutions. As a young boy, the author took part in collecting specimens for his father. Fifty years later, he was asked to join a team studying the state of sea life in the Bahamian waters where he grew up, as measured against his father’s benchmark.
The first of the sea changes presented in this eloquent book stems from climate change and is the drastic transformation of ocean life due to global warming. The second is his father’s miraculous transformation from playboy into scientist. And the third involves the author’s own complicated relationship with his parents, in particular his father, as he grew older and assumed the part of prodigal son. Fifty years later, returning to his childhood home, he delves into the mysteries of his father’s life and the impossibility of ever truly recovering the past or returning home.