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Children's Fiction General

Handliner's Island

by (author) Arthur Mayse

Harbour Publishing Co. Ltd.
Initial publish date
Jan 1990
General, Fishes, Fishing
Recommended Age
12 to 18
Recommended Grade
7 to 12
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jan 1990
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


Seasoned tale-spinner Arthur Mayse has combined a vivid setting with an involving and suspenseful plot, and the result is a classic juvenile book and a memorable west coast story. Fourteen-year-old Paddy sets out to make the money handlining off the coast of British Columbia, and finds it a more daunting prospect than he thought. Setting up camp on a small offshore island - once a burial ground and now the occasional haven for poachers-he and his KwagewIth friend Mayus learn the nuances of the ocean as they wait for the late summer - and the annual coho run. They get some guidance from a girl named Lynn, a skilled handliner, but as they find out, catching the fish may be the least of their problems

About the author

Arthur William ("Bill") Mayse (1912-1992) "spent his teens in gritty Nanaimo and grittier east side Vancouver. He knew Cowichan shamans, Sointula pukka fighters, tame apes from the A-frame camps, Chinese labourers, unrepentant Wobblies. More than anything, he knew and loved the country. He lived it, breathed it, fished it and sometimes despaired at what was being done to it in the ignorant clamour called progress. He was an ace reporter for The Province from the day he was hired out of UBC, a prize-winning poet one course short of graduation. He left to cover labour and politics for the rowdy Sun, then with his bride Win went to Toronto where he became fiction editor for Maclean's. He later joined the Victoria Times to write a warm column. It ran for thirty years." (Stephen Hume, Vancouver Sun)

Mayse wrote many published stories and articles, several scripts for television's The Beachcombers, and four novels: Perilous Passage, The Desperate Search, Morgan's Mountain and Handliner's Island.

"No one has written more about this coast more often, and more knowingly (I want to say wisely, too) than has Arthur Mayse."
-Charles Lillard

Arthur Mayse's profile page