WHAT THE RIVER KNOWS: An Angler in Midstream by Fields. Wayne

WHAT THE RIVER KNOWS: An Angler in Midstream

Email this review


First-time author Fields (English/Washington Univ. of St. Louis) combines a journal of one summer's fly fishing with reflections on his entrance into middle age. Fields decided to fish along the entire 20 miles of a trout stream in the upper peninsula of Michigan, where he vacations with his family every summer. He sets the resulting book in the form of a diary, with each day's entry recording his progress upstream, and his fishing. Every page or two of the journal is interspersed with italicized sections, many of which appear to be lifted from earlier diaries. Here, Fields has thrown in everything except the kitchen sink: these entries range from memories of dogs he has owned to an essay about four-leaf clovers, discussions of the lines on his palm, and ruminations on his own name. In one entry he asks, ""What is this book about? . . .I am writing about nothing happening, about middle age. . ."" One day blurs into another, with a slightly different rock or pool or fallen tree duly noted. Thoreau is alluded to several times; but this work, although amiable, is not sophisticated enough to appeal to transcendentalists--nor most naturalists or fly fishermen. Although the answer to the question posed by the title here is present in the text, it's hidden like a trout in deep water; patience is required to lure it out.

Pub Date: Sept. 14th, 1990
Publisher: Poseidon/Simon & Schuster