Book Notes

  • This was Jimmy’s sixth book (fourth as sole author)
  • It was his first novel in over a decade
  • Peaked at #3 on the New York Times Fiction Bestsellers List for the week of December 19, 2004
  • Included with the book is an audio CD containing the new song “A Salty Piece Of Land”

A Salty Piece Of Land


November 30, 2004


Little, Brown and Company




There’s a Condé Nast Traveler article fighting to get out of bestseller Buffett’s first new novel in a decade, a groovily laid-back, ramblingly anecdotal, sun-soaked bit of Caribbean escapism that his Parrothead fans will relish like another chorus of “Margaritaville.”

Tully Mars, a 40-ish ex-cowboy turned guide at the Lost Boys Fishing Lodge island resort, undertakes various sojourns around the Caribbean, to Mayan ruins, a jungle safari camp, a spring break bacchanal in Belize. Nothing much happens—”That day, we spent the rest of the daylight hours on the shallow waters of Ascension Bay and the lagoon amid incredible natural beauty unlike anything I had ever seen before” is about as busy as it gets—except that Tully meets a parade of colorful natives and expatriates, including a Mayan medicine man, a British commando and a 103-year-old woman who skippers a sailing schooner and wants to restore a historic lighthouse on Cayo Loco, the titular island.

The characters are all hospitality entrepreneurs, and Buffett (A Pirate Looks at Fifty) also gives them shaggy-dog anecdotes, tidbits of Caribbean history and desultory life lessons to relate. There are glimmers of plot—bounty hunters, loves lost and found—but mostly Tully has little to do but savor the accommodations and atmospherics of tourist locales while the sea washes him with waves of love, happiness and maturity as infallibly as the tides.

This book is as cheery and tropical as Buffet’s music.

– Publisher’s Weekly

USA Today Interview

He’s so well known as the carefree leader of Parrotheads worldwide that people forget Jimmy Buffett also is a respected author. His three best-selling books: a 1989 collection of short stories, Tales From Margaritaville; the 1992 novel Where Is Joe Merchant?; and the 1996 autobiographical A Pirate Looks at Fifty.

Now, the sailor, fisherman, pilot, surfer and singer/songwriter has written a new book, A Salty Piece of Land (Little, Brown, $27.59), his first novel in more than a decade.

“It has been a long time,” he concedes. “There have been some other things going on.”

One thing was this year’s License to Chill album, which hit No. 1 on the Billboard chart. And of course, there’s his regularly sold- out summer concert tour.

It has taken him five years to turn the story of cowboy Tully Mars and his adventures on a tropical island into a 460-page romp.

It wasn’t something he sat behind a desk to do. “I just wrote it when I was in motion, be it on tour, or be it on vacation or surfing or trips with my kids.”

Buffett, 57, and his wife, Jane, live in Florida. The have three children: Savannah, 25, Delaney, 12, and Cameron, 10. With Savannah, Buffett has written two popular children’s books.

The purveyor of the laid-back lifestyle, Buffett says he tried to complete a page a day. “Writing was the fun part,” he says.

But the editing? “It was like the biggest piece of homework I ever had.”

And he says he was never much for homework. “I was never taught how to write. I just told stories,” says the tropical island troubadour, who has recorded more than 40 albums.

Fans will recognize many of Buffett’s lyrics sprinkled throughout the text of A Salty Piece of Land.

“I know there’s a loyal group of fans out there that will get that stuff,” he says. “I always like to put some little tongue-in- cheek nuggets for those people, hoping they’ll get a smile out of it.”

In fact, he hopes all readers get a smile out of A Salty Piece of Land. “People need escapism. I’m not out there trying to write War and Peace.”

And with characteristic modesty, he adds: “I’m just glad I’m still here and people like what I do. I never had to have a comeback. I’ve always been plowing along. This is icing on the cake.”

Buffett can’t do book signings, because “they turn into Parrothead events, and people at book stores get freaked out.” So he has organized a special combination reading and concert.

On Wednesday at the Mahalia Jackson Theatre in New Orleans, Buffett will read from A Salty Piece of Land, answer questions from the audience and perform with his beach band.

A CD with the title song, A Salty Piece of Land, is included with the book.

The event will be simulcast to 53 Regal Entertainment Group movie theaters across the country at 9 p.m. ET /6 p.m. PT.

– USA Today, December 7, 2004