"Fool's Paradise"

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Everyone's favorite fishing writer is back with more fly-fishing pleasures in this lyrical, surprising book of observations on fishing, nature, travel, and life. Fool's Paradise is everything that Gierach's loyal fans expect from him: great fish tales, lots of witty observations, and criticisms of all that's wrong with the world today, that is, everything that isn't fishing related and even some things that are. Everything is subject to scrutiny as Gierach weighs in on subjects as varied as cellphones and airports, pick-up trucks and secret streams.

Gierach's fans have waited for a new book and Fool's Paradise will reel them in. There are stories about fishing from all over North America, from Alaska and British Columbia to Newfoundland. If John Gierach is living in a fool's paradise, then it's a paradise that his regular readers will recognize and new fans will delight in discovering. Laced with the inimitable blend of wit and wisdom that have made him fly-fishing's foremost scribe, Fool's Paradise chronicles the fishing life in all its glory (catching your biggest fish ever) and squalor (being stranded in a tent during a soaking rainstorm). In Gierach's world, both experiences are valuable, and both evoke humor and insight.

Fishermen everywhere will understand Gierach's quest to discover and explore new waters (and then not to divulge the best locations to anyone), the unlikely appeal of winter fly-fishing ("the ice fishing shanty served the dual purpose of group therapy and the neighborhood tavern"), how impossible it is to predict the best fishing ("Everything that happens is entirely familiar, but I don't always see it coming"), or even the absurdity of the entire exercise ("day after day, you're casting a fly that doesn't look like anything to fish that aren't hungry and may not even be there"). Braving trips on small prop planes and down "Oh-My-God" roads alike, Gierach and his fishing buddies pursue bull trout in British Columbia, steelhead in the Rocky Mountains, and pike so fierce that a wise fisherman wears Kevlar gloves for the obligatory trophy photo. But as with any activity that depends on unspoiled wilderness, change is constant. Gierach sees this happening both in the landscape ("You never get to point at a meadow full of browsing mule deer and say, 'You know, all this was once condos.'") and at lodges that now require guests to sign liability waivers ("[I] had a brief vision of herds of lawyers coursing over the tundra in search of litigation").

Just the same, he is always awed by the experience of nature, or as he puts it: "You're on a lovely, remote wilderness river in the Alaskan backcountry. There are people who would make this trip and not even bring a fishing rod." Musing on the enduring appeal of fishing, Gierach theorizes, "We're so used to the fake and the packaged that encountering something real can amount to a borderline religious experience." Equal parts fishing lore, philosophy, and great fish stories, Fool's Paradise may not be a perfect substitute for actually being out on the water, but it's surely the next best thing.

Softcover, B&W illus t/out; 5.5x8.5 inches, 224 pgs. 

 

About the Author

John Gierach is the author of many books and his work has appeared in Field & Stream, Gray's Sporting Journal, and Fly Rod & Reel, where he is a regular columnist. He lives in Lyons, Colorado.