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To write of a boy's solitary trout fishing and companionable swims in prose as clear and clean as the experience would seem an almost laughable undertaking two generations after Hemingway. But where Jan Adkins' confessed homage in Moving On (1978) came through as self-conscious parody, this direct account is untainted by embarrassing mannerisms. Very early on, Leif banters with a ninth-grade buddy about wristwatches, arguing for living in the present and against timekeeping, and the book is a series of present moments, remembered as Leif runs across town to the swimming pool. With his first trout-casting lesson at ten Leif decides to be ""a great trout fisherman,"" and with much serious and persistent effort and some advice from his family's retired landlord, he progresses. Seed doesn't impose any knot-tying plot or developmental breakthrough, though there are small moral lessons recollected honestly as such. (Leif is ashamed, for instance, that he was about to sell the mess of fish he had caught for his teacher.) Back in the present for a steal-away night of swimming and larking with his friends, Leif resists their dawning interest in girls along with the thought of growing up and choosing a career. ""I can't imagine not going swimming."" Leif's determined innocence may be fished from an American literary stream that is drying up, but it's proof that some sparkling keepers remain.

Pub Date: April 9th, 1979
Publisher: Four Winds