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A Field Guide to Murder & Fly Fishing: Stories Paperback – May 15, 2018
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"From the mountain lakes of the Colorado Rockies to the cobbled streets of Spain, this fascinating collection of short stories never disappoints. A Field Guide to Murder and Fly Fishing is a collection you'll be happy to get lost in." (Ploughshares)
"I found myself consuming [these] thirteen tightly wound tales with addictive delight." (Fiction Writers Review)
"If you seek a guide--on coming of age, lost love, temptations both resisted and surrendered to, and the need to both engage with and respect the planet--Weed's book is a good choice. It won't tell you which laws to obey and which to break--but it will show you, with simultaneous beauty and savagery, what will happen either way." (Colorado Review)
"This collection of stories by Tim Weed is grounded in the specificity of its settings, all of which contain hazards of one kind or another: a mountain lake, a jungle peak, an Amazonian river, a prairie giving way to construction, a seashore suddenly overcome by the tide, a city stuck in the past, a snowy slope (or two). But it is also full of mystery, and much of the mystery is cosmic . . . It is written so deftly, with such a light touch, that suspense builds in each story like a gathering storm." (Patrick Joyce, Midwest Book Review)
From the Back Cover
Praise for A Field Guide to Murder & Fly Fishing
"These stories bristle with energy and immediacy. The writing is spare and meticulous and packs a hefty emotional punch. I am not exaggerating when I say this collection kept me up at nights. I just couldn't stop reading." -- Addison Independent
"Tim Weed proves himself a skilled creator of a sense of place . . . each story deposits one definitively into a geography, of mind and map." -- The Boston Globe
"I found myself consuming [these] thirteen tightly wound tales with addictive delight." -- Fiction Writers Review
"From the mountain lakes of the Colorado Rockies to the cobbled streets of Spain, this fascinating collection of short stories never disappoints. A Field Guide to Murder and Fly Fishing is a collection you'll be happy to get lost in." -- Ploughshares
"If you seek a guide--on coming of age, lost love, temptations both resisted and surrendered to, and the need to both engage with and respect the planet--Weed's book is a good choice. It won't tell you which laws to obey and which to break--but it will show you, with simultaneous beauty and savagery, what will happen either way." -- Colorado Review
"Each story is a jewel, cracking open what matters most: love, family, and our big beautiful planet." -- Ann Hood, author of The Book that Matters Most
"Two young boys learn about death and mercy on a camping trip, a fishing guide contemplates and crosses a dark line during an excursion with a rich, entitled client and a teenager following the Grateful Dead for a summer tour plunges into a frightening drug addled spiral. These are just some of the characters searching for truth and meaning in life and death in the new short story collection by Vermont author Tim Weed." -- Vermont Public Radio
"I found myself parceling out the stories to make them last. These are stories that will live a long time both on the page and in your heart." -- Joseph Monninger, author of The World as We Know It
"Weed's stories . . . have their roots in the relationships between men and boys, and between men and nature, and they are colored by his long experience as a travel and adventure writer . . . His characters are fishermen, mountaineers, and teenagers all on a quest for self-discovery. From the title page to the last page, this is a book of gems." -- Big Sky Journal
"Under the blue skies and dark waters of A Field Guide to Murder & Fly Fishing, readers can feel pain, empathy, and purpose bubbling out from the sharp-detailed mental images." -- Pleiades
"Weed begins with the assumption that his readers are ready and able to see that the world is not as it seems. Things happen we cannot anticipate, and men change in surprising ways . . . Humans and their sometimes mysterious natures are all it takes for Weed to spin fiction of the first order." -- The Brattleboro Reformer
"It's the book Hemingway and Salinger and Rick Bass would write if they traveled the world together and then got stranded in a canoe. But better!" --Eleanor Henderson, author of The Twelve Mile Straight
"Many of Weed's stories have a hint of the mysterious, even the supernatural, but they are all grounded in sharply-rendered material worlds so fresh one feels one might step directly into the literary photographs he has created and stroll around for a while. A top-notch debut, not to be missed." -- Jacob Appel, author of Einstein's Beach Hose
"[In "Tower Eight"] Weed delves into adolescent friendship and the idea of being an outsider with great care for his characters. The tale begins and ends with one character musing on the reality of the other. The surreal ploy is subtle enough to bring the story into the realm of good literature, making the reader question perceptions of reality. Weed's prose is weightless, and weighty, all at once." -- Seven Days
"The Money Pill" feels like essential literature--for its self-awareness, its bold impeachment of globalism, and its sultry, sticky atmosphere of arousal and shame." -- Necessary Fiction
"["Steal Your Face"] is a short story that would make Mark Twain proud, as if Tom Sawyer or Huck Finn found themselves on tour with Jerry and the boys and culminated their eventful summers on a head full of acid in Colorado at the Red Rocks amphitheater." -- Roland Goity, Vagabondage Press
"A Field Guide to Murder & Fly Fishing is more than a collection of adventure stories. It is a significant and moving collection of ideas, snapshots, and visions that leave a lasting impression. Never predictable, this collection is a must for travelers, adventure seekers, and anyone who cares to examine the depth of [Weed's] varied and flawed characters." -- We Are the Curriculum
"Gearing up or slowing down, these short stories are a great way to leap into summer reading." -- Petoskey News-Review
"As readers, we have been given passports into Tim Weed's fictional worlds . . . We cannot alter the fates of those we have joined but, if we give them a chance, they could alter ours." --Small Press Book Review
"This collection of stories by Tim Weed is grounded in the specificity of its settings, all of which contain hazards of one kind or another. But it is also full of mystery, and much of the mystery is cosmic. Its stories are about transgression and karma, and a natural order that seems to render its characters uncertain of their own reality. It is written so deftly, with such a light touch, that suspense builds in each story like a gathering storm." -- Patrick Joyce, author of the forthcoming One Devil Too Many
"This is an outstanding story collection. And while the prose isn't exactly Hemingway-terse, it still brings Papa to mind: men fishing, men on skis, men climbing mountains. But there's also a magical element here that calls Borges to mind. Who is that strange woman at the bar? Who is that young climber's companion? It's altogether a satisfying read." --Clifford Garstang, author of What the Zhang Boys Knew
- Item Weight : 11.5 ounces
- Paperback : 266 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0997452846
- ISBN-13 : 978-0997452846
- Product Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.67 x 8.25 inches
- Publisher : Green Writers Press; Reprint Edition (May 15, 2018)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #160,326 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The opening is bucolic:
“Two boys and a man in his late forties sit in an aluminum rowboat in the middle of a lake at the bottom of a broad mountain basin. The lake mirrors the sky of a calm summer afternoon, but tendrils of cold air coming down from the surrounding crags will soon dispel the fragile illusion of warmth.”
If there are two words that sum up this entire collection of sharply-drawn, memorable stories, it might be “fragile illusion.” In Tim Weed’s stories, reality often slips away. Or slips in and out of focus. Or reality, if you’re not paying attention, will reach up and grab you by the throat. The opening beauty of “Cutthroat Lake” quickly becomes a stark lesson in life and death with a “faint, dry pop.”
Self-discovery is one theme in this collection. So is loneliness. And longing—the alluring Cuban women in “The Money Pill,” the elusive Soledad on Granada in “The Foreigner” and the tempting Kate in “A Winter Break in Rome.”
Nature is a major presence and sometimes an active participant, dealing its vicious cards in random fashion. There is always movement and activity, real people putting in real work for outdoorsy pursuits or a paycheck, either way. The stories themselves move quickly, too. There’s an entire trip up river to the dense jungles and back, including a major moral quandary and a strained relationship between two scientists, in the brisk pages of “Mouth of the Tropics.”
Weed takes us to New Hampshire and Nantucket, The Andes and Venezuela, and Rome and Cuba, too. His characters are primarily young men and they are often strangers in a foreign land—even the construction worker Phil in “Scrimshaw” commutes by plane to Nantucket and marvels at the island, “an Aladdin’s lamp crescent of sand and yellow-green heath; a rich man’s playground of weathered cedar cottages and summer mansions.” (Watch for the allusions to magic, like the Aladdin reference; they are plentiful.) When there isn’t regular travel, Weed’s men drop acid, contemplate hallucinations, or ponder their own powerful dreams.
Weed sets vivid scenes with ease. The landscape is never in doubt. It’s very hard to imagine, after reading these thirteen entries, that Weed could write a story set entirely under fluorescent lights in an office building (but I wouldn’t mind seeing him try). But don’t think landscape as scenery, think landscape as character. It is frequently integrated front and center, as it is in “Diamondback Mountain” and in the most heart-pounding story here, “Keepers.”
The writing is muscular and tough, but Weed’s characters are often open to their sensitivities and vulnerabilities. (Not always; see “The Money Pill” or “Scrimshaw.”) But in stories like “The Dragon of Conchagua,” in which a former Peace Corps volunteer named John returns to Ecuador in an attempt to scale a high-altitude volcano, the main character is keenly aware of a key memory from his youth, one that involved his hiking partner Gabe, and puzzles over a fleeting apparition. John comes across a wrecked vintage Cessna, the fuselage half-consumed by pillow moss. “Kneeling to peer into the cockpit, he sensed a fast-moving object overhead and glanced up reflexively, fear gripping his gut like a fist. But apart from blue sky and a few lingering wisps of fog, there was nothing to see. Taking a deep breath, he squinted down into the cockpit. Once again, there was nothing to see.” This moment neatly foreshadows the harrowing finish with both flight and visions playing key roles.
Immersive, visceral, and chock full of sensory detail, “A Field Guide to Murder & Fly Fishing” is a winner from first story to last. Murder? Yes, it’s here. But in the traditional sense it’s in short supply. Fly fishing? Yes, it’s here. But in the traditional sense, it’s in short supply. Like the stories within, the title of this collection is a bit of a fragile illusion.
Cons: some really awful stories that were poorly written and I wish I hadn't wanted my time.
I love books that have fishing stories. Any kind of stories or experiences with fishing. This book had some of that. Then there were stories that were just bad and others that had nothing to do with fishing. The short stories was a good idea but they need to be good stories.
Wouldn't even re-gift this book.
This book has very little of either topic other than its title.
I wonder, in this age of print to order publishing, did I receive a custom book? You still can't judge a book by its cover, or title, apparently.