The writing is honest and takes you into the empty turmoil of the successful TV executive who is enslaved by his own success. Parts of the book, however, are better written than others.
The Fourth Fisherman of the title refers to Kissack himself. The reference isn’t immediately obvious, and Kissack himself makes note of it only at the very end. In fact, it is the last line of the epilogue. Consequently, I went through some confusion at the beginning, since the second chapter of the book clearly speaks about five fishermen on board the boat.
Kissack attempts to draw parallels between his own situation and that of the fishermen, implying that they were both lost in different ways, and were rescued by faith. The helplessness of the fishermen, however, was an actual, real-time instance of being lost, as opposed to Kissack’s situation where he was lost in a spiritual sense.
If Kissack meant to write a book about himself, his depression and subsequent acceptance of God in his life, and his attempts to make a Hollywood film on the fishermen in the face of obstacles, it would have been better if he had not given us so many details about the Mexicans. After alternating six chapters of his own story with six chapters of that of the fishermen, I was greatly disappointed to find the focus suddenly shifting to Kissack.
The story of three men drifting on the waters for nine long months would have been a far more moving portrayal of the way in which faith can sustain humans when there is no hope. It would certainly have been a far more riveting read than one in which the low point is when Kissack’s wife’s Lexus needs to be sold.
Eventually, it is the faith that shines through. Lucio's grandmother, Panchita, believes that he is alive and never stops praying for him or setting a place for him at the dinner table. Salvador’s faith helps to ignite the faith of Jesus and Lucio. And Kissack's faith helps him to be a better man, a better husband and father.
The Fourth Fisherman is above all the story of that faith.
I received a copy of The Fourth Fisherman for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.