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BLOOD KNOT by Pete Fromm

BLOOD KNOT

Stories

By Pete Fromm

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 1-55821-744-4
Publisher: Lyons Press

Fishing (fly-fishing in particular) and the bonding experiences it engenders occupy each of these ten tales (six previously published) in a fourth collection from western storyteller Fromm (Dry Rain, 1997, etc.). The vision made manifest here suggests that the rhythm of casting and catching, and sometimes releasing, brings people to better understandings of one another and themselves. The title story invokes the archetype of father and son fishing together, but theirs is a family split by divorce, so Dad has to drive all the way from Montana to Georgia to be with his boy for a two-week expedition. Some of his bitterness drops away with the realization that the boy remembers every rock and ripple of earlier Montana outings; as the father mellows, regret takes the place of resentment. Another father-son rapport, in “Trying to Be Normal,” is affected by the act of landing a trophy fish in teamwork tinged in the boy’s mind by the recent death of his mother. In “Stone,” a son demands that Dad try his hand at stone-skipping, something the boy’s perfected through years of practice while his father fished nearby. Two brothers, one deaf, make their annual trek to a remote mountain lake before winter has released its grip, sharing their own trophy fish (“Grayfish—). Not all of the bonding here, though, is single-gender: “The Net” describes the first moments of a marriage that gets off to a bad start when the new couple push off alone in their canoe after a chilly dawn wedding at a wild Montana river’s edge. The voices are varied and the emotions genuine, even if one strike comes to seem much like another: in all, probably as tender and sensitive a clutch of fishing-as-life yarns as one is likely to find.