Fool's Paradise

Front Cover
Simon and Schuster, May 6, 2008 - Fiction - 224 pages
7 Reviews
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.

  

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Review: Fool's Paradise

User Review  - Ron Patch - Goodreads

Another great read from John. Read full review

Review: Fool's Paradise

User Review  - David Holloway - Goodreads

Great writing about fishing and the outdoors. Read full review

Contents

Trips
1
Bull Trout
13
Steelhead
25
Pike
37
Creeks
49
Volcano
61
Road Books
75
The Best Trout Stream in the World
87
Cheap Dates
119
Hunt
129
Winter
139
Rods
149
Labrador
161
Nebraska
173
Umpqua
183
The Meeting
193

Flowers
97
Musky
109
The New Guy
203
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

John Gierach is the author of several previous books, including At the Grave of the Unknown Fisherman, Standing in a River Waving a Stick, and Dances with Trout. His work has appeared in Gray's Sporting Journal, Field & Stream, where he is a contributing writer, and Fly Rod & Reel, where he is a columnist. He also writes columns for the Longmont (CO) Daily Times-Call and the monthly Redstone Review. He lives in Lyons, Colorado.

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