Full Creel: A Nick Lyons Reader

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9780802138415: Full Creel: A Nick Lyons Reader

Nick Lyons has long been acclaimed as one of our preeminent fishing writers, praised for his great stories, philosophical and literary insights, self-deprecating humor, and ability to capture the passion that drives people to stand for hours at a time in a river, often in vain. Full Creel collects Lyons's favorite essays and stories from more than three decades of writing. The capstone to an impressive career, this book belongs on the shelf of anyone who loves fishing.

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Review:

One way to judge the quality of an angling writer's work is to put it to this test: does the writer sound like somebody you'd want to go fishing with? For some 30 years now, Nick Lyons--angler, college professor, essayist, and book publisher--has passed the exam effortlessly. A fisherman's fisherman and a writer's writer, Lyons is an acknowledged master of both crafts. Literate, philosophic, passionate, witty, and self-effacing, he has stories to tell and he's skilled in the art of telling them. Who wouldn't want to spend time on the river with this guy?

Through Full Creel, you spend a virtual half lifetime with him. The book is a splendid omnibus, self-culled by Lyons from the seven collections of essays that he's published since 1970. If you've never read him before, this is a perfect volume to wade into; if you're already a fan, the book will remind you why as it flows around the bends of an angler's life from what Lyons calls "the innocent enthusiasms" that marked The Seasonable Angler, his first book, to the more brooding contemplations of an older, wiser, more seasoned human being who loves to fish. This is a man who adores his gadgets, his streams, his family, the traditions of his sport, and the marvelous places fishing takes him--both internally and externally. He can look at a simple fly, as he does in "The Things of Fly Fishing" and deem it a "minor monument" just as he can look at himself in "The Aging Fly Fisher," ponder the good and bad of growing old, and muse, "For it is a happy progression, a seasoning of our timber, from bumbling to skill, from not knowing to knowing ... but never all."

That is the magic of fly fishing, really--however much one knows there's always more to be learned. As Full Creel moves through time, it is evident just how enthusiastic a learner, how genial an observer, and how graceful a writer Lyons has been and continues to be. It makes Lyons, like that beloved fly, something of a minor monument himself, one that, essay by essay, just beckons to be scaled. --Jeff Silverman

From Publishers Weekly:

Fly-fishing aficionados know Lyons as one of the more eminent writers and publishers of angling literature. This omnibus gleans the best of his seven fishing books, from 1970's The Seasonable Angler to last year's My Secret Fishing Life. Whether fireside in New York tending his gear or streamside fishing a trout, Lyons is a personable and generous companion. These 80-some essays range widely, from boyhood trespasses on Brooklyn lawns in search of fat earthworms to his uneasy reign as a globe-trotting "bogus expert." While plenty of brooding, introspective pieces by other writers pay tribute to anglers' yearning for solitude and beauty, Lyons avoids the earnest, hermetic solipsism that so often mars the genre. His strongest essays are simple narratives that focus on family and fishing buddiesAmany of them true angling legends. Constant throughout this formidable compendium is Lyons's deeply abiding love (addiction, he rightly calls it) for the chase. He bumbles frequentlyAfalling out of boats, spraying fly dope in his eyes, miring his rental car in sand, fishing without a hookAbut also passes along ample wisdom about fishing and life. The former, he writes, "is merely a lovely, useless activity that, somehow, has become an axial line in my life, an anchor... a magnet for most of what I had to say on any subject." Lyons has plenty to say and he says it with such humility, good humor and perspective that even non-anglers have good reason to fish here. (Sept.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Nick Lyons, Mari Lyons (Illustrator), Thomas McGuane (Foreword)
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