Synopses & Reviews
From the award-winning, bestselling author of Cod-the irresistible story of the science, history, art, and culture of the least efficient way to catch a fish.
Fly fishing, historian Mark Kurlansky has found, is a battle of wits, fly fisher vs. fish — and the fly fisher does not always (or often) win. The targets — salmon, trout, and char — are highly intelligent, wily, strong, and athletic animals. The allure, Kurlansky finds, is that fly fishing makes catching a fish as difficult as possible. There is an art, too, in the crafting of flies. Beautiful and intricate, some are made with more than two dozen pieces of feather and fur from exotic animals. The cast as well is a matter of grace and rhythm, with different casts and rods yielding varying results.
Kurlansky is known for his deep dives into the history of specific subjects, from cod to oysters to milk. But he spent his boyhood days on the shore of a shallow pond. Here, where tiny fish weaved under a rocky waterfall, he first tied string to a branch, dangled a worm into the water, and unleashed his passion for fishing. Since then, a lifelong love of the sport has led him around the world to many countries, coasts, and rivers-from the wilds of Alaska to Basque country, from the Catskills in New York to Oregon's Columbia River, from Ireland and Norway to Russia and Japan. And, in true Kurlansky fashion, he absorbed every fact, detail, and anecdote along the way.
The Unreasonable Virtue of Fly Fishing marries Kurlansky's signature wide-ranging reach with a subject that has captivated him for a lifetime-combining history, craft, and personal memoir to show readers, devotees of the sport or not, the necessity of experiencing nature's balm first-hand.
"This being a book by Kurlansky, who never met a fact he didn't like, the narrative turns from his experiences as a fisherman to a more universal history.... Stuffed full of trivia, data, lore, and anecdote-a pleasure for any fan of trout fishing." Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"[A] vibrant treatise on fly-fishing... This is a thoroughly enjoyable mash-up of vivid memoir and fastidious, eccentric history." Publishers Weekly
"The sort of book that Proust might have written had Proust become distracted by the madeleine...you step away from this book with a new vantage on history, a working knowledge of exotic milk and cheese, acceptance of your mom, a sense of what makes Mark Kurlansky tick and a weird craving for buffalo mozzarella." Editors' Choice, New York Times Book Review on MILK!
About the Author
Mark Kurlansky is the New York Times bestselling author of Cod, Salt, Paper, The Basque History of the World, 1968, The Big Oyster, International Night, The Eastern Stars, A Continent of Islands, and The White Man in the Tree and Other Stories. He received the Dayton Literary Peace Prize for Nonviolence, Bon Appetit's Food Writer of the Year Award, the James Beard Award, and the Glenfiddich Award. Salt was a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist. He spent ten years as Caribbean correspondent for the Chicago Tribune. He lives in New York City. www.markkurlansky.com .