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The Fish's Eye: Essays about Angling and the Outdoors Hardcover – April 15, 2002

4.6 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

All 17 of the angling pieces Frazier (On the Rez) has written over the last 20 years have now been preserved in one volume. Attentive readers of the New Yorker over the last two decades will have caught most of these pieces before, but anglers and essay fans (not to mention Frazier devotees) should be glad to revisit gems like "An Angler at Heart," his 1981 profile of a Manhattan tackle dealer. Frazier's sharp eye and self-implicating wit is at work in these charming but unsentimental pieces, whether he's describing his penchant for mayflies in "It's Hard to Eat Just One," a family fishing trip in which his kids prefer a drainage ditch to the trout stream in "A Lovely Sort of Lower Purpose," or a Central Park pond where the fishermen are as likely to catch empty potato chip bags as catfish in "Anglers." Many of these essays are, in fact, about fishing in the city, and Frazier often wrings more suspense and meaning from a muddy stream that runs "From Wilderness to Wal-Mart" than some outdoor adventure writers get from an expedition through Nepal. His paeans to the angling experience set the standard in this subgenre, yet will amuse many who've never set foot in a tackle shop.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

So what did Frazier do for a break while researching and writing major works like Great Plains and On the Rez? Obviously, he was off fishing.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 1st edition (April 15, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374155208
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374155209
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.8 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,620,143 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I am a big fan of Ian Frazier's writing, so I snapped this up even though I am not an angler. The material is uneven, "spotty": some good, some indifferent. It contains essays previously published in magazines like the New Yorker and Outside magazine. In fact, if you've read either of those often you will be disappointed to find relatively few new material.
If not however, the anglers will like some pieces, the Ian Frazier fans will like others but tire of the fish stories. The one that is most successful on both counts, in my opinion, is the one about the fellow who ran an angler's shop near Grand Central Station. It is more a personality piece than a fishing piece but combines both of Frazier's great abilities (writing that is funny and generous in spirit, and...of course...fishing).
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By A Customer on April 13, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This reviewer became a fan of the essay upon reading the classic "How to Cook Roast Pig". However, perusing seventeen pieces on fish, fishing, or related topics seem outside my lane as the only fish I catch is in a can. Still, Ian Frazier is a popular New Yorker essayist and many of his tales occur in and around the Big Apple. Thinking it's the sediment of the Hudson that makes the bagel taste good, I figured I could always shut down by the second contribution by explaining that the big one got away. However, instead I read all seventeen pieces in one sitting, as each contribution is intelligent, witty, and insightful. These tales are not just putting a worm on the hook in Central Park, but are human-interest segments that are often amusing but always insightful. Anglers will love this collection of Mr. Frazier's best New Yorker contributions, but so will anyone who relishes a different perspective through a fish's eye. PS, I still will catch my fish in a tin.

Harriet Klausner
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Format: Hardcover
My father has been passionate about fishing for as long as I can remember. I never have been. I didn't have the patience and lets face it, if you're not catching fish, then you're standing there holding a stick dangling string into a monumental body of water. As I've gotten older (and wiser?), I try to fish with my father whenever possible and, preconceived notions aside, I'm really enjoying myself. Consequently, when I ran across Ian Frazier's new offering, THE FISH'S EYE, I immediately purchased a copy for both my father and myself (reading is a passion we share). I thought I might glean some insight into an experienced fisherman's psyche as I read this set of 17 essays and thus, a snapshot of my father's fishing experiences. The essays, written by Mr. Frazier over the last 20+ years and presented in chronological order, present the reader with Frazier's experiences in the fishing life....and his experiences have been wide and varied.
As an incredible admission, this reader had no clue that there were people who actually fished in New York City proper (it just didn't seem to fit) but Frazier sets this misnomer to rest in his first essay, "Anglers." Here, he describes his experiences of observing and listening to a few of those throwing their lines into one of six ponds in the City's park system near Harlem Meer.
One of the better and more detailed essays is "An Angler at Heart." This essay details the story of Jim Deren, the owner of Anglers Roost, in none other than New York City! Frazier tells of his many conversations with Deren as he frequents The Roost. This 47-page essay is actually several essays rolled into one, all featuring Deren and his experiences in the fishing life.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm not sure that anyone's ever adequately explained the fact that fishing, baseball, boxing, golf, and horse racing have produced nearly every page of worthwhile sports writing. Baseball has more truly great writing
than the others--from songs and poems, like Take Me Out to the Ballgame and Casey at the Bat; to daily journalism, like Red Smith's Miracle at Coogan's Bluff; to essays, like John Updike's Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu;
to classic novels like Bang the Drum Slowly; to even great B-movies, like It Happens Every Spring--but fishing literature offers perhaps the most consistently high quality of writing (I don't think it has many songs,
poems, or movies and only a handful of worthwhile novels).
The great Red Smith of course excelled in writing about all of these sports and his fishing essays are marvelous. Robert Traver--perhaps best remembered now for Anatomy of a Murder, with its fishing-mad
attorney--wrote a number of great essays, collected in Trout Magic and Trout Madness. Nowadays, John Gierach seems incapable of putting pen to paper without producing an amusing fishing tale. All in all,
there's an embarrassment of riches to choose from. It seems not too much to say that you can grab nearly any collection of fishing essays and find writing of a high standard. In fact, it may be looking a gift horse in the
mouth, but there's so much good writing about fishing that it takes on a certain sameness--all those magnificent trout rising to the mayfly hatches in Montana and Idaho start to blend together at some point. So,
though it seem perverse, it takes more than "just" great writing to get at least this casual fan to grab a new fishing book. An author'd better have a well-barbed hook, to haul us in.
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