Moran of the Lady Letty

Moran of the Lady Letty

Frank Norris

Literature & Fiction

Moran of the Lady Letty, originally published in 1898, was Frank Norris\'s first published novel. Although an avid fan of Norris, having read some of his nautical adventure stories in the collection A Deal in Wheat, I did not approach this work with very high expectations. Soon after diving in, however, I was pleasantly surprised by how well-written and entertaining it is. Ross Wilbur is an educated young member of San Francisco\'s upper class. Killing time one afternoon before a society ball, he decides to take a stroll along the waterfront, where he is abducted by a sea captain and forced into service among the crew of a schooner. After an abusive welcome, he is informed by the captain that they will be fishing for sharks along the coast of Mexico for a few weeks, after which time Wilbur will be returned to his home port. After overcoming the initial shock of his capture, Wilbur resigns himself to his fate and actually begins to enjoy life at sea. The shark hunting is interrupted, however, when the crew stumbles upon a drifting, apparently abandoned ship named the "Lady Letty." Upon investigation they discover one survivor aboard, who, much to Wilbur\'s surprise, turns out to be a woman. Far from a damsel in distress, Moran, as the young woman is named, soon proves herself as fiercely independent, coarsely mannered, and physically powerful as any masculine sailor on the high seas.
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