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illustration of a leaping coho salmon against a stylized background of a salmon-colored sky and dark blue ocean, with the text Slime Line in a bold handwriting font in a blue-green color with a white stroke around the letters

Jake Maynard

June 2024
PB 978-1-959000-19-8
eBook 978-1-959000-20-4

Slime Line

A Novel


A trippy and darkly funny portrait of the commercial fishing industry, Slime Line is the tragicomic yarn of one troubled college dropout’s desperate attempts to remake himself into a hard-nosed working man.

In the wake of his father’s death, Garrett Deaver washes up at a salmon processing plant in his dad’s old stomping grounds of Alaska. There, he renames himself Beaver—because just like a beaver, he’s “an industrious motherfucker”— and vows to become a supervisor at Klak Fancy Salmon, LLC. But moving up within the industry’s seasonal underclass is anything but simple, and soon he finds himself with real, and imagined, enemies at the plant. As amphetamines scramble his sense of reality, and secrets about his father’s life are revealed, the job he’d hoped would bring him salvation threatens to leave him broke, alone, and—maybe even literally—underwater.


Jake Maynard is a fiction writer and essayist from Pennsylvania. He has held a few different jobs in the Alaskan commercial fishing industry. His writing appears in Southern Review, Guernica, Gulf Coast, Alaska Quarterly Review, the New Republic, the Baffler, the New York Times, and others. Slime Line is his first novel.


"Maynard is a bold new American voice in fiction, and he's arrived with a fillet knife. Christ I loved this book."

— Taylor Brown, author of Rednecks and Gods of Howl Mountain

“A cult classic is born. Jake Maynard’s inspiring Slime Line is a backward glance at what the American novel could achieve before it got highjacked by English departments. Stumbling through the stinking grist of the salmon processing slums, written with fish-gut fingers, and fueled by an impetuous, chemical verve of prose a la Thom Jones, Slime Line exposes Alaska’s wage-slave work camps via the addled observations of its indefatigable narrator, one Garrett Deaver, a kid wielding a filet knife manically passionate about a job that will leave him beaten, abandoned, and hiding from the police inside a floating trailer park while still attempting to solve the mystery of his father’s death. Sinclair and Steinbeck would applaud this novel’s eye, but it’s Maynard’s outrageous characters loosed upon the Alaskan seacoast that propel Slime Line into page-turning madness. Maynard gets
every word right.”

— Lee Durkee, author of The Last Taxi Driver and Stalking Shakespeare

“Maynard’s Slime Line is an arresting read that sinks its claws deep into your gut and dares you to blink. It’s a story of hard work, loss, exploitation, and family set against a backdrop of blood, ice, and heavy machinery at an Alaskan fish processing plant peopled by misfits, scoundrels, and ghosts. You’ll never look at a salmon filet the same way again.”

— Kim Kelly, author of Fight Like Hell: The Untold Story of American Labor

“A bold and forceful and glorious book, like a beer bottle smashed to bits over your head, leaving you sticky with glass shards. Jake Maynard’s Slime Line depicts the world how it really is, or one hard slice of it anyway: the puke-inducing Alaskan commercial fishing sector. You’ll learn how to gut a salmon in one chapter, then how to lose a family in the next. In both cases, it’s not pretty. (“Everything,” as Maynard tells it, “comes out clean except for the heart.”) This is an eviscerating read, at once improbably raw and real.”

— Ben Purkert, author of The Men Can’t be Saved

Slime Line is a deeply compelling novel. Maynard’s energetic prose is as gritty and raw as Alaska itself.”

—Callan Wink, author of August

“There aren’t enough gross books about work. This is a story that hasn’t yet been told, and thank goodness Maynard was in right place to bear witness and tell it. Slime Line is a wild romp, both compelling and educational. It will change how people approach fish processing—and work, even—in Alaska.”

—Brendan Jones, author of The Alaskan Laundry

"Slime Line is a stone-cold winner: a book about the dirty work of capitalism, searching for a missing father, and reckoning with your legacy. It’s full of fish guts and lousy shifts, but it’s also driven by a big, beating heart. I found it impossible to put down. As in all great books, the big catch here is the truth, and Jake Maynard hauls it in, one gorgeous sentence after another. Tender, musical, sad, funny as hell. Read it.”

—Steve Almond, author of All the Secrets of the World and Truth Is the Arrow, Mercy Is the Bow