“Haunted by Waters is a landmark book
[Browning’s] brilliant displays of research and erudition in chapters on Old World and New World angling traditions and American Transcendentalism are nonpareil. So, too, is his comprehension regarding the art of fly-fishing in its entirety. What’s more, no one has ever written a literary history of fly-fishing, even a brief one, with more style or insight.”
“In this thoughtful, penetrating
look at the literature of fly-fishing, the author notes that fishermen who write can be likened to our ancient ancestors,who blazoned portrayals of the hunt on the walls of
. In scrutinizing Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises and his story ‘Big Two-Hearted River'
Browning finds the most profound portrayals of fishing as anactivity where life and death meet and stare at each other.’”
“Anyone who is genuinely interested in fly-fishing and is also a serious reader will be gratified by Browning's book
. Authors of books in which fly-fishing plays an accompanying role are household words. Browning's book is a better guide to what to read than any other I know.”
The Baltimore Sun
“Many anglers can't seem to get enough of their sport, so they make artificial flies and read a lot about fishing when they're not streamside. Browning's book contemplates the strong attraction of this revered pastime and thoughtfully considers the literature that it has inspired
. Chapters that can be categorized as ecocriticism, the new term for environmental literary criticism, are interspersed with ‘Interludes,’ wherein Browning, a devoted fly fisherman, offers first-person confessions and observations about his joyful obsession. Recommended for all large fishing collections.”Library Journal
Fishing, particularly fly fishing, writes Browning, "seems to hold a disproportionate place" in North American letters In this thoughtful, penetrating, but dissertation-like look at the literature of fly-fishing, the author notes that fishermen who write can be likened to our ancient ancestors, "who blazoned portrayals of the hunt on the walls of caves." Browning asserts that "the distinctiveness" of American fishing writing flows from the Transcendentalists, in particular from a few paragraphs by Thoreau in A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers wherein he views an old man fishing from a riverbank as performing "a sort of solemn sacrament." Thoreau and others established another early hallmark of American fishing writing, he suggests, by wistfully writing of a Golden Age in America "to be preferred over the present age of industry." But it is in scrutinizing Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises and his story "Big Two-Hearted River" that Browning finds the most profound portrayals of fishing as an "activity where life and death meet and stare at each other." Unfortunately, this is also where the author's dissertation style is most in evidence as he overreaches to investigate the "story's doubleness," as suggested by its title. Interspersed with these scholarly chapters are þinterludesþ about Browningþs own fishing experiences.