BROOK TROUT AND THE WRITING LIFE by Craig Nova

BROOK TROUT AND THE WRITING LIFE

The Intermingling of Fishing and Writing in a Novelist's Life

KIRKUS REVIEW

Acclaimed novelist Nova (The Universal Donor, 1997, etc.) turns his writerly eye to his other great passion, fly-fishing. One of Nova’s great strengths as a novelist is his unerring eye for natural detail. In this slender volume, one senses that his experience as a trout fisherman has helped to strengthen that eye. For much of its length, this little book is predicated on the tension between that which is seen above the water’s surface and that which takes place out of sight, and the ways in which life beyond the trout stream falls into a series of similar dichotomies. “The events of life and brook trout often meet at the line of demarcation between the world of the fish and the world of the fisherman, between the seen and the unseen,” Nova writes at the book’s outset. The theme resonates quietly but insistently elsewhere in the book, with a passing reference to New York City’s Minetta Lane, under which still runs a now invisible brook, and the artists’ lofts of SoHo in the 1960s, when people lived sub rosa in old industrial spaces. For Nova, that tension clearly resonates powerfully in his writing life—in the unseen struggles of the writer seeking a voice, as distinct from the seemingly untroubled surface of the books he produces—and his personal life as well. The book is unflinchingly candid about both the writing process and the hard work of marriage, each of which is seen intertwined with his fishing and his love of nature. For the first two-thirds of the book, Nova delineates both the hidden dangers and multiple rewards of fishing, family, and writing. Regrettably, in its final movement, the book comes a bit unglued, with a couple of anecdotal passages that seem to have been included to flesh out what would have otherwise been a long magazine article. For the most part, an engagingly honest and keenly observed essay, flawed by its dribbling-away ending.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 1-55821-974-9
Page count: 128pp
Publisher: Lyons Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1999




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