The Longest Silence: A Life in Fishing
Thomas McGuane’s obsession with fish has taken him from the river in his backyard to the holiest waters of the fly-fisher’s world. As he travels the fish take him to many and various subjects ripe for random speculation: rods and reels, the classification of anglers according to the flies they prefer, family and memory – right down to why fishermen lie. The Longest Silence sets the heart pounding for a glimpse of moving water, and demonstrates what a life dedicated to sport reveals about life.As adept as Thomas McGuane has been through the years with a rod in his hand, he’s even more skillful with his pen. Join the two like tippet to leader, and the result’s as irresistible as a Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear in the middle of a Hendrickson hatch.
For The Longest Silence, McGuane has trolled his inventory and assembled 33 essays written over three decades. Passionate, meditative, personal, and often very funny, they are filled with fellowship and connected by his love of angling. The title piece, a certified classic in the sporting genre, chronicles his quest for the elusive permit. Since permit is about the hardest fish to catch on a fly, the expected futility of not catching one hooks McGuane’s introspection, and he weighs in with trophy prose: “What is emphatic in angling is made so by the long silences–the unproductive periods. For the ardent fisherman, progress is towards the kinds of fishing that are never productive in the sense of the blood riots of the hunting-and-fishing periodicals. Their illusions of continuous action evoke for him, finally, a condition of utter, mortuary boredom.”
That’s McGuane on angling in a nutshell; he knows the real action is internal. Whether he’s casting for salmon in Russia (“Fly-Fishing the Evil Empire”), bonefish in the Florida Keys (“Close to the Bone”), or trout in Ireland (“Back in Ireland”), the catch is secondary to the pursuit, and the pursuit has as much to do with making sense of self and the universe as it does with anything aswim in a river. “When you get to the water you will be renewed,” he assures. “Leave as much behind as possible. Those motives to screw your boss or employees, cheat on your spouse, rob the state, or humiliate your companions will not serve you well if you expect to be restored in the eyes of God, fish, and the river, which will reward you with hollow waste if you don’t behave. You may be cursed. You may be shriven. You may be drowned. At the very least, you may snap off your fly in the bushes.” McGuane clearly wades in with honest intentions; in The Longest Silence he casts cleanly to his target again and again. –Jeff Silverman
Rating: (out of reviews)
List Price: $ 19.75
Price: $ 6.77
After 17 years at sea, Linda Greenlaw decided it was time to take a break from being a swordboat captain, the career that would earn her a prominent role in Sebastian Junger’s The Perfect Storm and a portrayal in the subsequent film. Greenlaw decided to move back home, to a tiny island seven miles off the Maine coast. There, she would pursue a simpler life as a lobsterman, find a husband, and settle down. But all doesn’t go as planned. The lobsters refuse to crawl out from under their rocks and into the traps she and her father have painstakingly set. Fellow islanders draw her into bizarre intrigues, and the eligible bachelors prove even more elusive than the lobsters. But just when she thinks things can’t get worse, something happens that forces her to reevaluate everything she thought she knew about life, luck, and lobsters. Filled with nautical detail and the dramas of small-town life, The Lobster Chronicles is a celebration of family and community. Greenlaw proves once again that fishermen are the best storytellers around.
Rating: (out of reviews)
List Price: $ 15.99
Price: $ 1.77