Later, some knew it as a place that bred malefic spirits. Spring starvation showed skully heads, knobbed joints beneath flesh. What desperate work to stay alive, to scrob and claw through hard times. The alchemist sea changed fishermen into wet bones, sent boats to drift among the cod, cast them on the landwash.

The Shipping News by Annie Proulx

What is the meaning of 'wet bones' here? It sounds like 'coward'. Am I right?

  • I don't know the book, but maybe it means bones of the lost fishermen in the ocean?
    – user3169
    Feb 13, 2016 at 6:43
  • @user3169 never thought of that! makes perfect sense! Thank you!
    – whitecap
    Feb 13, 2016 at 6:48
  • skully heads ... knobbed joints beneath flesh ... wet bones...
    – TimR
    Feb 13, 2016 at 15:27
  • @Tromano Why couldn't I see that? Hmm... I wonder it's my lack of imagination or English. ;) Thank you.
    – whitecap
    Feb 13, 2016 at 19:28
  • I think maybe you were using too much imagination. The meaning is literal in this case.
    – user3169
    Feb 13, 2016 at 19:45

1 Answer 1


It means

the bones of the lost fishermen in the ocean

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