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A Colorado outdoorsman, Gierach (Dances with Trout, 1994) has always included an element of humor in his work, but here he seems more intent on working in wry, curmudgeonly one-liners than he does on telling a good fishing story. A lot of it is strained and obvious: "I guess I have to admit I'm not all that fond of people in general—if nothing else, there are too damned many of them." He's amused by trendy environmentalist nomenclature: antihumanist anarchist primitivist. But he too has a political position: "We should have a clean, healthy, diverse natural environment so I can go fishing." The humor works occasionally, as when he's fishing so close to a house, he can overhear an obscenity-laden domestic dispute. Gierach does hit the mark when he plays it straight. He discusses the merits of guides from the old school, who found a place to fish and left you alone, and the new breed who've learned to be "teacher, coach, chauffeur, valet, tour director and therapist." He offers practical advice on shipping and traveling with expensive, fragile rods, and he does a good piece on fly- fishing Colorado's Blue River in the dead of winter. The most delectable piece describes a repast of "casual confusion" that included sockeye salmon, venison sausage, lightly smoked rainbow trout, and wild mushrooms and raspberries.
Some fine moments, as always; but Gierach should allow humor to arise of its own accord rather forcing it to the surface.
|1||Another Lousy Day in Paradise||11|
|10||The Kindness of Strangers||105|
|22||What Else Is There?||220|
Posted February 22, 2009
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