THE SKY FISHERMAN by Craig Lesley

THE SKY FISHERMAN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A small-screen epic novel of the outdoor life in the Pacific Northwest: overly melodramatic but authentic in its details of male exploits, small-town intrigues, and a fatherless teenage boy's search for a path in life. Lesley's (River Song, 1989, etc.) story opens as Culver, the boy narrator, along with his mother and stepfather, comes down another rung in life, moving to a house along a siding in the middle of nowhere. It's the last straw for Culver's mother, who uproots Culver and takes him back to the lumber town where he was born and where his father, Dave, died shooting the rapids of the Lost River. Uncle Jake, who was along that day and now runs a guide service, is more than willing to become a surrogate father to Culver. What follows is highly reminiscent of Sometimes a Great Notion and A River Runs Through It, where fishing trips alternate with scenes describing the uneasy relations between white and Native American communities as the lumber mills begin to fail. The author leaves no potential plot twist unturned as he throws Culver into rapids-running, Native American mysticism, a series of forest fires (some of which may have been set by the jilted stepfather), the murder of a Native American, a fire that devours the mill and half the town, a hint that Uncle Jake is his father, and, as a final tie-up-all-the-threads extravaganza, a giant flood that ends with Jake's death. Does Culver grow up? You bet: Not only does he confront his mother to get the full story of his father's death, but he forgives her and even makes peace with his mother's suitor, the dentist Franklin. Earnest, a little too nice, but ultimately persuasive: This is being touted as Lesley's breakthrough book--and it may go far.

Pub Date: Aug. 22nd, 1995
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin