Dry, intelligent recollections of a fly-fishing life, from Raymond (Steelhead Country, not reviewed, etc.). Raymond has...

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RIVERS OF THE HEART: A Fly-Fishing Memoir

Dry, intelligent recollections of a fly-fishing life, from Raymond (Steelhead Country, not reviewed, etc.). Raymond has cobbled together 16 essays, grouped under four categories: fishing acquaintances, venues (the Miramichi, Christmas Island, the River Dee, and others), items (flies, cane rods, and an odd-man-out piece on reviewing fishing books), and a mostly humorous miscellany. For Raymond, who has been editing and writing fishing material almost as long as he has been fishing (though he makes his living as a newspaperman), this is not a greatest hits collection--there are winners and losers in each section. Rather, the essays are bound together by their honesty and practicality and in their desire to convey the boundless, multihued fascinations of a day astream, even when it features kidney stone torment, rattlesnakes, poison ivy, and dog feces all in an afternoon. As with any fishing book that isn't afraid to float a position, readers will find much to quibble with: which writers on fly fishing are worth reading (he suspiciously neglects Thomas McGuane, Jim Harrison, Bill Barich, and Datus Proper, perhaps because Raymond is a bit prim), the claim that class status isn't a consideration when choosing a fishing buddy, or the inconceivable statement that he liked the movie A River Runs Through It better than Norman Maclean's book. There are times when his prose comes empurpled--""each wave driven by the pulsing energy of the world's great hidden heart""--but not enough to be mortifying. There are other times when the writing feels like a plug for a lodge: ""The 12 guest rooms had been outfitted with air-conditioning units and new queen-sized beds."" But for the most part, these are good fishing stories: glorious locales, smartly observed; a wealth of arcana and history and self-deprecating humor. And it doesn't hurt that he can turn a decent phrase.

Pub Date: July 17, 1998

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Lyons

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1998