The Longest Silence: A Life in Fishing

McGuane, Thomas

Published by Vintage, 2001
ISBN 10: 0679777571 / ISBN 13: 9780679777571
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0679777571 Trade paperback. Light wear, pages starting to tan, binding tight, a very nice copy!. Bookseller Inventory #

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Synopsis: From the highly acclaimed author of Ninety-Two in the Shade and Nothing but Blue Skies comes this collection of breathtakingly exquisite essays borne of a lifetime spent fishing.

The thirty-three essays in The Longest Silence take us from the tarpon of Florida to the salmon of Iceland, from the bonefish of Mexico to the trout of Montana. They bring us characters as varied as a highly literate Canadian frontiersman and a devoutly Mormon river guide and address issues ranging from the esoteric art of tying flies to the enduring philosophy of a seventeenth-century angler. Infused with a deep experience of wildlife and the outdoors, both reverent and hilarious by turns, The Longest Silence sets the heart pounding for a glimpse of moving water and demonstrates what dedication to sport reveals about life.

Review: 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

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Title: The Longest Silence: A Life in Fishing
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: 2001
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: Very Good

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