FISHING BY MAIL by Vance Bourjaily

FISHING BY MAIL

The Outdoor Life of a Father and Son
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 A game bag stuffed to the limit by letters between a father and son swapping fishing and hunting stories. When veteran novelist Bourjaily (Old Soldier, 1990, etc.) and his son, Philip (a freelancer publishing in Field & Stream, Sports Afield, etc.), are approached to write a book that will ``provide insights into the character of the angler in today's society...what his act of fishing means to him,'' they start right in writing back and forth to each other, going straight for a slew of fishing stories and then swinging into the nature of hunting deer, turkey, partridge, snapping turtles, and more. Ever wonder what it's like to hunt alligators? Vance puts you with him in a battered aluminum john boat steered with a small outboard motor by his Cajun friend, the two hunters confidently armed with a battered .22 and half a broomstick with a hook. Vance can't stop thinking, though, that the boat is 15 feet long and many gators run 12 feet and 600 pounds. Meanwhile, Philip is passing the pheasant season in Iowa in a terrible slump: He's missed 13 roosters in a row, despite these birds being scorned by many duck hunters as being so big and slow that killing them is ``like shooting kites.'' When Philip tells his hunting partner that he has to go back to the truck for more bullets because ``I've only got five left, and I'm saving the last one for myself,'' his friend advises, ``Save two. You'll probably miss.'' Back in Louisiana, Vance writes that he's hiring marsh Cajuns for duck-season opening: ``We could have easily won the war in Vietnam,'' he says, ``if we'd sworn in a squad of them and told them that the Viet Cong were good to eat, but that they were out of season and there was a limit of two of them.'' Fine fare for those who like to swap stories over the campfire--or who just enjoy getting the real, unadorned McCoy. (First serial to Field & Stream)

Pub Date: Oct. 25th, 1993
ISBN: 0-87113-556-6
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1993




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