Individual taste in books varies as much as the favorite rod or fly. With that in mind, we hope to review books and videos from the ever-growing fly fishing world, and share them with you. Books will be the best of all worlds, new and old. Many of the old books are now available in reprint, and the wisdom contained is timely today. Others can be found in second-hand book stores, or by mail order dealers. As we find videos we feel are outstanding they will be included. Be assured, reviews are based on what we have actually read, and due to that fact, may not appear weekly.

November 1st, 1999

Brook Trout and the Writing Life
By Craig Nova
Published by The Lyons Press
124 West 18th Street, New York, New York 10011
Phone: 212-620-9580

The letter said, "Dear Reviewer:

What a pleasure it is for me to invite you to review BROOK TROUT AND THE WRITING LIFE by Craig Nova.

It's a short book and an usual book but it offers one of those rare glimpses into the private life and passion of a man whose chief occupation is the making of fictions. And what wonderful novels Craig Nova has written: The Good Son, The Congressman's Daughter, The Universal Donor, and half a dozen others, for which he has won an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and other major awards, grants, and prizes.

BROOK TROUT AND THE WRITING LIFE shows how a love of fly fishing for jewel-like brookies intermingles with his life as, first, a struggling and later a successful novelist. It has the vigorous momentum of his fine novels and the patient attention to detail that allows us to enter deeply into the textured life this remarkable man has led.

I love this little book. And I'm hugely proud to have published it. It reminds me of the best of Tom McGuane, Bill Barish, John Gierach, and Ted Leeson. I hope you will read and like it as much as I do with a view toward giving it a serious review.

[signed] Nick Lyons
Chairman of the Board"

So with such a glowing review from Nick Lyons himself, I dove right in.

My impressions are not as favorable. Do understand I have not read any of Craig Nova's novels, and they may be fine indeed. And there are some bits and pieces that are lovely. And some that really aren't. (Particularly the underlying references to his libido and who got what where.) Perhaps Nick Lyons is a personal friend and fishing companion of the author and finds more between the lines than I found actually written.

The book, as I read it, is an answer to A River Runs Through It. Sort of a "Hey - it ran though my life too. Except brook trout were my passion." Unfortunately the author Craig Nova conveys none of the thoughtful influence which is A River Runs Though It. (And which drew so many who read it - or saw the film - to try fly fishing.)

Nearly every fisher who ever tied a fly on their leader is part of the 'River,' so I suppose any fisher who ever pursued a brook trout should have the same connection with BROOK TROUT AND THE WRITING LIFE. Not true.

What he really has written is a diary of sorts, one having to do with maintaining his sanity when his life turns to crap. The answer, of course, is go fish.

But most of us knew that already. ~ DLB

111 pages.
Hard Bound: $20.00 (ISBN: 1-55821-974-9)

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