Tangier Island in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay has been getting a lot of attention in recent years. CNN did a report that got the mayor, Ooker Eskridge, an audience with the President. A social media storm naturally followed. And now Earl Swift has written a magisterial account of a year on the island.
I should probably have mentioned in the criteria for Heartlands Best Reads that writing about the Eastern Shore of Virginia, where I live, will get you points in the rankings for the year-end list. And I may not have found my way to Swift’s book, Chesapeake Requiem: A Year with the Watermen of Vanishing Tangier Island, if I hadn’t lived here and known Swift. But this is a book that has gotten note far beyond what regional interest would have reckoned. Just this week, The Bitter Southerner ran a feature on Tangier (accompanied by some glorious photos) because of Chesapeake Requiem.
It’s a book that will touch your heart, make you wonder about climate change, and immerse you in a unique and precious community. Plus it’s just fine writing.