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"This carefully constructed, layered book, so tightly focused in on Gloucester, is nonetheless a book of universal importance, especially in our country at this moment in time. Though a study on the deliberation of economic investment, growth and a community's decision-making, Decline of Fishes is at its core a book about passions — intellectual and physical and entrepreneurial — and our attendant responsibilities. How do we function and choose, given these powerful, complex, at times warring drives?"
--Rae Francoeur, Cape Ann Beacon,
Nov. 17, 2010
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Read a poem from Sacrifice
Welcome to Back Shore Press
Taking its name and inspiration from the rugged coast that fronts the
Atlantic Ocean, Back Shore is a publishing collaborative founded in
Gloucester, Massachusetts to offer writers equal participation in the
editing, design, marketing and distribution of their books. Co-publishers of
Back Shore are Peter Anastas and Schuyler Hoffman.
Decline of Fishes, A Novel by Peter Anastas
"In Decline of Fishes Peter Anastas builds on both the grand literary tradition of Dreiser and Dos Passos and the social activism of Alinsky and Jacobs to tell a very contemporary American story: the struggle for the soul of Gloucester, Massachusetts, the nation's oldest seaport. The personal and the political entwine throughout, hooking the reader with a provocative love story, a cast of fascinating characters and glimpses into a small city's power dynamics. Anastas holds before us the specter of a centuries-old commercial fishing industry and the way of life it fostered, done in by rampant development, and asks that attention be paid before another American tragedy unfolds."
--Lucy Honig, author of Waiting for Rescue
Set in the historic fishing port of Gloucester, Massachusetts during the summer of 1993, Decline of Fishes depicts the battle, led by an intrepid group of local citizens, to prevent the construction of a shopping mall on the last remaining parcel of the city's harborfront. The mall's promoters claim that with Gloucester's fishing industry threatening collapse, the harbor should be redeveloped as a tourist attraction and commercial center to raise tax revenue and create jobs. But the development's opponents wage a pitched battle to convince their community that, instead of providing jobs and taxes for the city, the shopping mall will pave the way—literally—for this proud, gritty fishing port's extinction.
Decline of Fishes is a gripping, multi-layered epic novel about the recklessness of growth at any cost, the survival of an endangered industry, and the value of hard-won principles. The novel tells the story of a choice faced by cities and towns across America: whether to stay true to their historical selves or sell out to the highest bidder.
Published by Back Shore Press
P.O. Box 211 Gloucester, MA 01931-0211