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 The keeper of this ``treasury'' of troutiana should have kept a sharper eye out for counterfeits. There are gems among the pieces collected here by Leeson (The Habit of Rivers, 1994), but in a sport so brimming with fine writing--as Datus Proper, one of its more able practitioners, has said, ``There are a million fly fishermen and half of them are writers''--why have so many trash fish found their way into this anthology? There is David Quammen's glorious piece on trout as synecdoche, then a tediously confessional item from Lorian Hemingway, describing trout as a ``sacrament'' in the first line, thus administering a handful of sand directly into readers' eyes. David James Duncan's wonderfully crafted, humorous story of seeking the artist in himself as a nine-year-old on the Deschutes is preceded by Christopher Camuto's overwritten, tortured article on the connection of all things trouty. John Gierach and Proper live up to their reputations. Gierach offers flinty, almost crusty, quick takes on what it means to share water with trout. Proper is elegant, in his fuddy-duddy way, as he turns over and examines the notion of selectivity. George Anderson weighs in with a labored overview of fly fishing's future in the face of pollution and overfishing, but it is hardly writing, in a league with Thomas McGuane's graceful and wide-eyed story of coming to know a new river, with its attention to detail and unexpected innocence. And what is one to make of the editor including his own clunky, pretentious thoughts on surface fishing in a volume so categorically titled? Only 50 percent of these entries deserve to be called great writing; the remainder qualify as good ol' boys scratching each others' good ol' backs. (b&w illustrations)

Pub Date: Oct. 28th, 1996
ISBN: 1-55821-477-1
Page count: 200pp
Publisher: Lyons Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1996


NonfictionINVENTING MONTANA by Ted Leeson
by Ted Leeson
NonfictionJERUSALEM CREEK by Ted Leeson
by Ted Leeson
NonfictionTHE HABIT OF RIVERS by Ted Leeson
by Ted Leeson