Synopses & Reviews
Howell Raines has gone fly fishing with presidents of the United States and legends of the sport, as well as relatives, childhood friends, and his two sons. Casting deep into the waters of his tumultuous and momentous life -- his storied career at the New York Times, his painful divorce, his seven-year feud with his father, his memorable friendship with fisherman/philosopher Richard C. Blalock -- Raines offers his now-classic meditation on the "disciplined, beautiful, and unessential activity" of fly fishing and the challenges and opportunities of middle age. A witty and profound celebration of life's transitions and the serene pleasures of the outdoors, Raines's memories and observations offer wisdom for the younger man, comfort for the older man, and rare insight for women into the often puzzling male psyche. "Hear me, my brothers," Raines says. "Anything is possible in the life of a man if he lives long enough. Even adulthood."
Using fly fishing as a metaphor for the struggle to understand and come to grips with life, here is a unique study of Raines' life, politics, gender; as a son, father, husband and journalist; and his attitudes toward aging and mortality. Its part sporting autobiography, part guidebook to life's middle passage.
Just as "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance used motorcycle repair as a metaphor for the examination of self, Howell Raines uses his lifelong experiences as a fly fisherman to explore his life, politics, gender, roles as a son, husband, father, and journalist, and his attitudes toward aging and mortality. A man who has fished with presidents and Southern friends as well as with his own two sons, Raines chronicles his progress from "the Redneck way of fishing" for quantity and food to the catch-and-release way of his friend and mentor Dick Blalock. Blalock taught Raines that fly fishing is about attitude and friendship, not about catching fish. Raines imparts tips on casting and stream beds gracefully, along with his love for what he calls "waters that move" as he explores the deep funk he fell into at midlife, complete with a divorce, a seven-year feud with his father and brother, and the all-consuming animosity he allowed himself to develop toward his boss at work. By casting into the waters of his own life -- and ultimately reconciling with middle age -- Howell Raines has written a literate, contemplative celebration of life and friendship.
About the Author
Before stepping down in 2003, Howell Raines was Executive Editor of the New York Times. He is the author of Whiskey Man, a novel, and My Soul Is Rested, an oral history of the Civil Rights movement. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing in 1992.