- Paperback: 176 pages
- Publisher: Eno Publishers; Revised & Expanded edition (May 1, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0982077149
- ISBN-13: 978-0982077146
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,963,065 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Brook Trout and the Writing Life: The Intermingling of Fishing and Writing in a Novelist's Life Paperback – May 1, 2011
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"Craig Nova, one of the most distinctive voices and visionaries in American fiction, works close to the bone, but never forgets to see things from afar." --Ann Beattie
"Craig Nova's sensitive and vivid memoir... records events but he's casting for a larger catch: what swims at mysterious depths. His brilliant prose spars with experience, pulling in the line closer and closer to the quick of life. When a salmon takes the fly with a 'tock' sound, Nova muses that the sound is like 'knocking a knuckle against a violin' or 'knocking on the coffin one will occupy one day.' Such metaphoric associations free the prose to absorb levels and levels of connection. Brook Trout, over and over, takes you there where elusive and slippery meaning might almost arc into the net." --Francis Mayes
"This is an unusual fishing book, in that it isn't about fishing for trophies or food or enlightenment, and unusual, too, in its quiet elegance. In Mr. Nova's hands, fishing reveals a life in which fishing connects the parts... a means of getting at qualities of the natural world that consciousness grasps but can't quite express... a short book that gives long, lingering pleasure." --Tracy Kidder
About the Author
Craig Nova is the award-winning author of twelve novels, including The Good Son, Cruisers, and his latest novel, The Informer. His work has appeared in Esquire, The New York Times, and Men's Journal. He has received an Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters and is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. He is a Class of 1949 Distinguished Professor in the Humanities at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro.
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Like his generational colleagues, Thomas McGuane and W. D. Wetherell, Nova has risen to prominence through his art of the novel, yet his most accessible book to some readers may very well be the side project, the little fishing book. For McGuane, this coalesced as the essays collected in The Longest Silence; for Wetherell, this became rendered in his portrait of a waterway, Vermont River. Here now for Nova, in a reissued and expanded edition featuring a forward by Ann Beattie, is Brook Trout and the Writing Life. Part fish story, part memoir, the book is at its center a thoughtful exploration of the overlapping threads of connection writers who come to fly fishing (or visa versa) perceive and experience within the greater realm of family life.
Nova's fish story attracts interest in part because of the time frame involved. Nova came relatively late to fly fishing. He was already established in New York City, living the life of a young writer, when a woman who would later become his wife introduced him to her family's country property; a little corner of Eden that held a trout stream. His own Eve gifted him his first fly rod and this instrument, like a pen or a typewriter, gave him not just knowledge, but a new kind of way to render experience, one that opened up a new vista within his personal life. Nova the writer found a refuge for rumination, for catharsis: the power of free time bathed in a stream's flow that, in his case, sustained him through literary lean times.
Sustained success arrived and two daughters followed. Nova's experiences with his girls, related here, provides a rare look into an area heretofore understudied by much of the fly fishing canon's best literature. Enough with the father and son story, oft told, now worn down so far as to become cliché. Here, at last, is the father and daughter fly fishing dynamic. And even when Nova digresses in a chapter about rowing, we find in this other freshwater sport another connection to that fundamental process, the flow, which informs fishing, writing, and life.
This edition, new from Eno Publishers, is an expanded version of a book first published in 1999 by The Lyons Press. The new material fits in seamlessly; there are no sections that read as if sutured on for the sake of elaboration or discursion. Nova reveals his writing skill by folding in the additional passages so well that the surface of the page remains as unbroken as the surface of a spring creek pool. Not a ripple can be detected; Nova is a lapidarian literary artist.
One subjective thought also arises after reading Brook Trout and the Writing Life. Nova's book fits well into what could be named The Northeast School of fly fishing writing. One will not encounter the big sky testosterone tales of a pot smoking alpha male with a thick thatch of beard; the tough guy who guides millionaire clients to massive steelhead in between pounded cans of domestic beer. Instead, you will find quiet natural beauty, emotional sensitivity, family values, maybe a glass or two of red wine, and therein an even stronger model of a man; an individual who can be a husband, a father, a lyrical writer, as well as one very talented fly fisher who excels in the sport's most nuanced facets.