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Blue Road to Atlantis    by Jay Nussbaum order for
Blue Road to Atlantis
by Jay Nussbaum
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2002 (2002)

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Blue Road to Atlantis is a brief (140 pages) ichthyo-fable, a philosophic fantasy set under the sea. It is narrated by Fishmael, a remora who lives in a symbiotic relationship with his teacher, the huge marlin Old Fish, 'jewel of the seven seas.' Old Fish dreams of a pilgrimage to Atlantis, but manages to delay it again and again. He mourns the death of his beloved Migdalia, killed by the fearsome fisherman El Campe3n.

As Fishmael and Remora 'swim with the current', Old Fish drops pearls of wisdom, such as 'I am no better than my appetite; others are no worse than theirs'. There are his two secrets in battle: 'Never be the last to know a fight has begun ... Assume defeat but commit to victory' and the intriguing ten concentric circles of life, his secret to faith.

After Old Fish acts heroically against a viperfish in defense of a marlin egg, the community demands that he save them from the Red Tide. Old Fish, Remora and Jotaro (a young marlin in charge of the egg) head off on quest for Atlantis and the wisdom of its Great Spotted Dolphins, but instead they encounter El Campe3n and his fishhook, and a long struggle ensues against it.

There is an ongoing, amusing commentary on humanity, such as 'God gave humans too much brain. It makes them unable to accept their current.' There are dark moments of doubt, the 'hunter no one defeats and no one outswims' and other denizens of the deep, like the Nurse shark, who scoff at the dream of Atlantis, but Old Fish does eventually achieve it.

Though its lessons are not always subtle, Blue Road to Atlantis has many good ones to share. It explores the mysteries of the currents of the ocean, of life and death, and reveals to us more than a 'fish eat fish' world.

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