The opening line of this book is:
"WHAT YOU NOTICE in the month of May is the tiles, like roof tiles but white, stacked by thousands at one point after another along the shore."
The last line on page 203 is:
"BENEFICIENT Oyster, good to taste, good for the stomach and the soul, grant us the blessing of your further mystery."
In between these 200 pages concerning oysters, Eleanor Clark wrote a definitive classic on the amalgamation of geography, human history, ecology, and commerce. One reads much of the mystery or the character of this mollusk at this Breton coast. It expresses itself through the human being just as it does through its own.
These oysters of Locmariaquer can be appreciated or thought of in two ways. How they are farmed in this northwestern Breton Coast can be thought of as being incidental. The important thing, some argues, this is a place of scenary, good oyster eating, and tourism. Or one can see with an understanding eye, as the author wants the reader to see, at the landscape. This Locmariaquer landscape, with the oysters, is repleted with the rich voice of its ancestors, myths, history, and human foibles.
Equipped with this behind the scene knowledge, the mystery of the Locmariquer mollusk is revealed. Now we can trippingly roll off our tongue why these Breton oysters are dear to the gourmet. Put on a few more dozens of these oysters on the barbie, won't you? No, not on the doll.
*Note: This book was published in 1964. In the 1970s, some if not all of the oyster varieties named in the book had been devastated by parasites. Today, the region is cultivating the hardier Japanese oyster, the Japanese naissain (the Gigas) variety, to sustain the industry and a way of life.