Outerbridge Reach Summary

Summary (Masterpieces of American Literature)

Outerbridge Reach, its title a reference to one of the New York/New Jersey channels, departs from Stone’s normal crew of drug users and dropouts to focus instead on a world of junk bonds, cooked books, and shell games in which corrupt business practices (substandard materials and shoddy workmanship) endanger customers. Stone sets corporate dreams against corporate realities, as protagonist Owen Browne determines to test himself and advertise his company, Altan Marina, only to find himself not worthy, his dreams ashes, and the company on which he has set his hopes taking a dive (its CEO having already mysteriously disappeared).

A youthful success for whom combat provided a clear-cut sense of purpose, commitment, and vision, at midlife Browne, writing advertising copy for a yacht brokerage in Connecticut, feels empty and lost, estranged from his wife and daughter, unhappy with his work. The yacht race challenge to single-handedly sail around the world provides him a chance to relive the excitement of his navy days and to regain respect. Although he lacks extended solitary sailing experience, he fools himself into believing, against all odds, that winning the race will restore his youth, win back his family, and reinvigorate his working life.

Although his daughter finds his actions frightening and doomed, his wife of twenty years, Anne, who comes from a nautical family and has a much more realistic understanding of the difficulties...

(The entire section is 509 words.)