Alexis M. Smith Review

Does MARROW ISLAND by Alexis M. Smith Infringe the Copyright of THE FISHER KING by Hayley Kelsey? Read on to Decide for Yourself (and see more at medium.com/hayleykelseyauthor) | History: | Between May 7-21, 2011, I gave away e-copies of my novel to 25 Goodreads and 20 LibraryThing Free Giveaway winners in exchange for reviews. Smith has been a Goodreads member since August 2007. | On December 12, 2011, I submitted a query letter, synopsis, and first 50 pages of my novel to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, which published alleged infringing titles Marrow Island and The News from the End of the World. | On September 23, 2013 and December 20, 2013, I submitted a query letter, synopsis, and first 50 pages of my novel to agent Seth Fishman at The Gernert Co., who represents alleged copyright infringer Alexis M. Smith. | On January 19, 2014, I submitted a query letter, synopsis, and first 50 pages of my novel to agent Chris Parris-Lamb at The Gernert Co., which represents Smith. | On June 7, 2016, Marrow Island was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. | Does MARROW ISLAND Have Striking and Substantial Similarities to THE FISHER KING? | Setting: In The Fisher King, environmentally damaged Chesapeake Bay island experiencing extreme weather events. In Marrow Island, environmentally damaged Pacific Northwest island experiencing extreme weather events. | Nearly identical character’s nickname: In The Fisher King, “Sister.” In Marrow Island, “Sister J.” | Identical use of characters’ names: In The Fisher King, Sonny is named for father. In Marrow Island, Lucie’s father was named for his father. | Identical minor characters’ names and roles: In The Fisher King: Mae. In Marrow Island: May. | Identical character traits: In The Fisher King, Gail is tall, mid-thirties. husband Sonny is innocent, straight-arrow Boy Scout. Sonny is totally at ease in own skin. Lover Peter is skinny, long-haired, over-age Seapeace activist. In Marrow Island, Kate is tall, mid-thirties. Lucie’s boyfriend Carey is innocent, straight-arrow Eagle Scout. Kate is totally at ease in own skin. Husband Tuck is skinny, long-haired, over-age former Greenpeace activist. | In The Fisher King, greed pushed big business (commercial farming and fishing) to over-farm and -fish, damaging the island and bay, depleting them of natural resources, polluting them with chemicals, destroying the islanders’ health (specifically fertility), putting residents out of work, and forcing them to vacate the island. In Marrow Island, greed pushed big business (refinery) to overproduce, which caused explosion, damaging the island and bay, depleting them of natural resources. In extinguishing the fire, the company polluted the land with chemicals, destroying the islanders’ health (specifically fertility), putting residents out of work, and forcing them to vacate the island. | In The Fisher King, the plot centers around the importance of reclaiming the island and surrounding bay from environmental damage while still earning a sustainable living from it. In Marrow Island, the plot centers around the importance of reclaiming the island from environmental damage while still earning a sustainable living from it. | In The Fisher King, the community tries to turn fishery into a profitable business. In Marrow Island, the commune tries to turn island farm into a profitable business. | In The Fisher King, the conflicting plans of watermen, government, and environmental activists divide the community. In Marrow Island the conflicting plans of commune, government, and environmental activists divide the commune. | In The Fisher King, the island is threatened by a three-year-long drought and government intervention. In Marrow Island, the island is threatened by a three-year-long drought and government intervention. | In The Fisher King, the continuously burning landfill is recurring symbol of the environmental wasteland. In Marrow Island, the continuously burning forest fire is recurring symbol of the environmental wasteland. | In The Fisher King, Gail keeps the books for the family business. In Marrow Island, Katie keeps the books for the commune’s business. | In The Fisher King, Gail’s brother died suddenly in accident. In Marrow Island, Lucie’s father died suddenly in industrial accident. | In The Fisher King, three deaths occur (Wes, Gail’s father, King) and Gail stays at King’s deathbed. In Marrow Island, three deaths occur (Lucie’s father, miscarried babies, Sister J) and Lucie stays at Sister J’s deathbed. | The Fisher King is narrated from the first-person point-of-view of an unemployed, outsider, gutsy female protagonist. Marrow Island is narrator from the first-person point-of-view of an unemployed, outsider, gutsy female protagonist. | In The Fisher King, Gail’s lover favorably compares her intimate scent to the fishery. In Marrow Island, Lucie’s lover favorably compares her intimate scent to fish roe. | In The Fisher King, Gail escapes to the island to struggle to come to terms with her role in the accidental death of her brother. In Marrow Island, Lucie returns to the island to struggle to come to terms with the accidental death of her father. | In The Fisher King, two brothers left the island 20 years earlier for college, while one remained behind to fish. In Marrow Island, Lucie left the island 20 years earlier for college while childhood friend remained behind to farm. | In The Fisher King, Gail’s mother always hated the farm and wanted to be free of it. In Marrow Island, Lucie’s mother always hated the cottage and wants to be rid of it. | In The Fisher King, Gail’s grandfather deeds property to Gail’s mother to keep her on farm. In Marrow Island, Lucie’s mother deeds cottage to her—to keep her on island, she wonders? | In The Fisher King, Gail lives in shed made from salvaged wood on the island. In Marrow Island, Katie lives in shack made from salvaged wood on the island. | In The Fisher King, Gail sleeps in two-hour shifts on a cot. In Marrow Island, Carey sleeps in two-hour shifts on a cot. | In The Fisher King, Gail can’t decide what to pack in a suitcase. In Marrow Island, Lucie can’t decide what to pack in a suitcase. | In The Fisher King, islanders repeatedly try and fail to get pregnant. In Marrow Island, islanders repeatedly try and fail to carry a fetus to term. | In The Fisher King, Sonny is sterile as a result of environmental pollution. In Marrow Island, Tuck’s sperm may be damaged as a result of environmental pollution. | In The Fisher King, husband Sonny saves cherished list of baby names on a much-folded piece of paper. In Marrow Island, boyfriend Carey saves cherished poem on a much-folded piece of paper. | In The Fisher King, four plot points turn on scenes of mis-delivered mail, old mail, unopened mail, and a character other than the addressee who opens mail. In Marrow Island, four plot points turn on scenes of mis-delivered mail, old mail, unopened mail, and a character other than the addressee who opens mail. | In The Fisher King, Gail buys a pregnancy test kit and buries the “wand” in a trash can. In Marrow Island, Lucie buys a pregnancy test kit and buries the “stick” in a trash can. | In The Fisher King, Gail has affairs and becomes pregnant with illegitimate child at end. In Marrow Island, Lucie has affair and becomes pregnant with illegitimate child at end. | Nearly identical symbols: In The Fisher King, a landfill symbolizes the environmental wasteland. In Marrow Island, the island symbolizes the environmental wasteland. | Identical denouements: The Fisher King ends ambiguously. Neither watermen, big business, nor environmentalists win in the end. Gail comes to terms with brother’s death and moves on. Sonny leaves island, freeing himself from painful family influences, gains independence and maturity. Marrow Island ends ambiguously. Neither Lucie nor the commune win in the end. Lucie comes to terms with father’s death and moves on. Lucie leaves island, freeing herself from painful family memories, gains independence and maturity. | Identical themes: In The Fisher King, importance of reclaiming and restoring island and bay from environmental damage. Characters are trapped by circumstances beyond their control, including extreme weather. The environmental, economic, and health (specifically reproductive) consequences of ecological damage. Emphasis on necessity for and consequences of lying and shame. Coming to terms with guilt over the death of a family member. Importance of work to identity. Importance of place, specifically island, and historical connection to it. Importance of community to feeling of belonging, sense of purpose. Importance of fertility to pass on farm, island, family name, genes. Importance of inheriting and passing on to next generation farm, island, family history, genes, opportunity, and a future. In Marrow Island, importance of reclaiming and restoring island from environmental damage. Characters are trapped by circumstances beyond their control, including extreme weather. The environmental, economic, and health (specifically reproductive) consequences of ecological damage. Emphasis on necessity for and consequences of lying and shame. Coming to terms with guilt over the death of a family member. Importance of work to identity. Importance of place, specifically island, and historical connection to it. Importance of commune to feeling of belonging, sense of purpose. Importance of fertility to pass on farm, island, family name, genes. Importance of inheriting and passing on to next generation farm, island, family history, genes, opportunity, and a future. | Does MARROW ISLAND Have Plot and Theme Similarities to THE FISHER KING? | There are the eight main elements that comprise the “heart” on which The Fisher King turns, and Marrow Island takes seven of them: | 1. Business—Greed pushed big business (farming, commercial fishing or refinery) to overproduce, causing overfarming and overfishing or explosion. In the process of farming or extinguishing fire, farmers or refinery polluted environment with chemicals, depleting it of natural resources (fertile soil, groundwater, fish), damaging the eco-system, destroying residents’ health (specifically fertility), putting all residents out of work, and forcing them to vacate island.

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Name: Alexis M. Smith

Country: United States

State: Oregon

City: Portland

Address: 2446 N Watts St.

Phone: 503.688.5425

Website:

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