"When I dream," begins James Prosek in this wonderful book, "sometimes I can smell the resin on my pillow as if I were in the tent again . . .. I think of first kisses with a freckled girl, of abandoned New England farms, and limestone Civil War Homes on Pennsylvania spring creeks, and bright brook trout."The more than 200,000 readers who have bought Prosek's previous books will find in Early Love and Brook Trout his most poignant and revealing work. His memoir includes images of his first love, a girl named Whitney; his rowing days at Yale; his
"When I dream," begins James Prosek in this wonderful book, "sometimes I can smell the resin on my pillow as if I were in the tent again . . .. I think of first kisses with a freckled girl, of abandoned New England farms, and limestone Civil War Homes on Pennsylvania spring creeks, and bright brook trout."The more than 200,000 readers who have bought Prosek's previous books will find in Early Love and Brook Trout his most poignant and revealing work. His memoir includes images of his first love, a girl named Whitney; his rowing days at Yale; his relationship to an old game warden named Joe Haines; and a night spent trapped in a cabin during a flood at the foot of the Smoky Mountains. Always, as is proper for the superb painter he is, his eye catches everything: the way a tree splits when struck by lightning, the way people interact at a salmon camp, the way wood smoke rises from a cabin on Lac St. Jean, and especially the colors of a spawning brook trout. Brook trout are at the center of his memories: They are his home fish, and he follows their range from Quebec to Georgia, fishing, painting specimens from various localities, documenting the immense diversity of this species.Graced with more than forty stunning watercolors by the author, Early Love and Brook Trout is a book no angler will want to miss. (8 1/4 X 8 1/4, 164 pages, watercolors)
In an elegant work of prose and painting, Prosek (The Complete Angler) dips freely into his past and recalls events ranging from notable hunts for brook trout--his favorite fish--to frustrated forays into teenage affection. Interspersed evenly in this coffee-table presentation are examples of Prosek's deft watercolor prints, which often speak just as effectively as the writing itself. Though muted and painterly, Prosek's watercolors render their subjects more crisply than photographs. Likewise, his writing at its best is simple, earnest and resonant, at times leaving readers with the quiet, meditative afterglow of the nature writings of Annie Dillard and Sigurd F. Olson. The book's flaw lies with the occasionally awkward variations on its central theme: the connection between the cherished brook trout and Prosek's amorous intentions can range from humorous to tenuous. "We shared a love for secret places," Prosek writes of a friend, "and imagined there were gnomes and trolls living in the rock ledge of his yard. This same sensibility translated into enjoyment of trout and, later, women." The correlation goes from unclear to uncouth with one chapter title, which is named after both a pond and a woman: "Kate's Hole." But such blemishes are not common, and Prosek's motif successfully conveys the depth of his passion for fishing. "I have written this little book," he says, "in order to capture something in myself that I never want to forget." Readers will have little doubt that he has made a lasting impression. (May) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Early Love and Brook Trout has far too much of the former and far too little of the latter. The book is a great example of why books about young love should be written long after the fact. When he writes about angling, the 24-year-old Prosek is a decent storyteller, but when writing about relationships Prosek manages to make himself completely unsympathetic--he comes across as a spoiled rich kid who can't get the girl and can't figure out why. Best known for his Trout: An Illustrated History (Knopf, 1996), which caused overenthusiastic critics to compare his painting to John James Audubon, Prosek also penned a plodding memoir of his boyhood fishing experiences with game warden Joe Haines in Joe and Me (Rob Weisbach, 1997). Even Prosek's paintings do not improve this book, which at least has the merit of ending after 144 pages. Not recommended.--Jeff Grossman, Milwaukee Area Technical Coll. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
The New York Times
Prosek can paint with language as simply and refreshingly as he does with watercolors.
The Los Angeles Times
Prosek has been compared favorably to the man who inspired him, John James Audubon.