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Press and Reader Reviews


Armour Sarkela in Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula

The phone rings. I answer it. It’s Mark Rowe, who hasn’t called me for years. How odd. “Did you hear?” he asks. “Armour passed away this morning.”

It’s fall, 1989.   A Finnish-American legend and friend of author Peter Oikarinen has just died peacefully after surviving nearly sixty years of fishing along the rugged Keweenaw coast.   Armour Sarkela, a uniquely solitary “trust yourself” sort, had earned regard for his no-nonsense practicality, his perceptive and generous sensibility, and, most notably, his peculiar knack for storytelling.

Author Peter Oikarinen in Sedar Bay, Keweenaw Peninsula

For twelve years Oikarinen, also a Copper Country native, had regularly visited, fished with, and observed ‘Sark.’  This experience inspired the classic Armour: A Lake Superior Fisherman, a chronicle of friendship and sisu enriched with sixty-five of the author’s own striking photographs.

Armour is Oikarinen’s fourth book, following Remembering, Blizzard, and Island Folk and complemented by his contributions to the Detroit News, the Detroit Free Press, the Milwaukee Journal, and the Green Bay Press-Gazette as well as other newspapers and magazines.   First printed in 1991, this engaging portrait of an ‘old timer’ is again available from RCM-Maki Publishers.

Armour—much like its subject—has a special handcrafted and homespun quality that will please anyone interested in the history of the Upper Lakes, or the character that forged it.

In any age, it’s tough to be true to your deep feelings, to attempt to live as you really want to.   Armas ‘Armour’ Sarkela did.   He was the only successful man I’ve ever met.

   

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