American Literature of the Sea and Great Lakes
KENNEY, SUSAN [McILVAINE] (1941- ). Born in Summit, New Jersey, Susan Kenney teaches at Colby College and has written two works with nautical themes: Sailing (1989) and One Fell Sloop (1990). Both are based on her experiences steering boats and her apprehension about sailing. Sailing follows middle-aged Sara and Phil Boyd in their purchase and sailing of a twenty-year-old sloop. Though she herself takes no pleasure in sailing, to Sara the boat symbolizes a gift of hope and renewed life that she can give Phil, who is ailing with cancer. To Phil, the boat symbolizes self-discovery and control over his destiny; his final voyage alone is a literal one. Sailing becomes a metaphor for the best the married couple can know about each other and about their relationship. One Fell Sloop, set in the waters near a coastal island in Maine’s Penobscot Bay, is a nautical mystery that includes a chase and rescue at sea.