Last Updated on May 7, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 95
Buffett's storytelling style employs exaggeration, escapism, pathos, and humor to explore the stresses and complexities of modern life. His work in print expands the stories and spirit of his music. Where Is Joe Merchant? is peppered with characters and situations previously introduced in Buffett's music and stories. Desdemona has appeared...
(The entire section contains 2138 words.)
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Buffett's storytelling style employs exaggeration, escapism, pathos, and humor to explore the stresses and complexities of modern life. His work in print expands the stories and spirit of his music. Where Is Joe Merchant? is peppered with characters and situations previously introduced in Buffett's music and stories. Desdemona has appeared in his short fiction, Tales from Margaritaville, and in his song, "Fruit cakes," while Blanton Meyercord resembles the environmental terrorist portrayed in a song from Barometer Soup called "The ballad of Skip Willey." Lines and titles frequently borrowed from Buffett songs appear throughout the novel.
Last Updated on May 7, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 126
Buffett has been strongly influenced by literary figures such as Robert Louis Stevenson, Mark Twain, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and his brother-in-law, novelist Tom McGuane. In recent years he has enjoyed the works of Bruce Chatwin, thus Buffett's playful use of myth and magic in Where Is Joe Merchant? may reflect some of Chatwin's and Marquez's influence.
The action scenes were compared by Entertainment Weekly to Robert Ludlum's work. Further comparison with Ludlum can be made in Buffett's villains, the renegade demagogue, Colonel Cairo and the lost soul with the bizarre tattoos on his eyelids, Charlie Fabian, though neither are quite as malevolent as Ludlum's creations. The comedic elements also set Where Is Joe Merchant? apart from more intense action/suspense novels.
Last Updated on May 7, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 166
The significance of Tales from Margaritaville and Where Is Joe Merchant? is tied directly to Jimmy Buffett's popularity as a musician and his impact on the music industry. The books, written primarily as entertainment for his fans, are full of references to Buffett's lyrics, expanding on characters and themes which originated in his music. Tales from Margaritaville is especially valuable for a serious Buffett aficionado seeking deeper insight into the singer's imagination and life. Students of popular culture will want to note the interplay between Buffett's books, music and the music culture of the last two decades. However, the most fascinating aspect of Buffett's work is his creation of the Margaritaville ambiance which has stimulated the popularity of margaritas, Caribbean music, Key West, and beach-style hedonism.
These works should not be overlooked by those interested in the Caribbean and Gulf Coast regional fiction, as they provide some vivid glimpses of life along the Gulf Coast and suggest that the spirit of Margaritaville is not purely concocted.