The letter said, "Dear Reviewer:
What a pleasure it is for me to invite you to review BROOK TROUT AND THE WRITING
LIFE by Craig Nova.
It's a short book – and an usual book – but it offers one of those rare glimpses into the private
life and passion of a man whose chief occupation is the making of fictions. And what wonderful
novels Craig Nova has written: The Good Son, The Congressman's Daughter, The
Universal Donor, and half a dozen others, for which he has won an Award in
Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and other
major awards, grants, and prizes.
BROOK TROUT AND THE WRITING LIFE shows how a love of fly fishing for jewel-like
brookies intermingles with his life as, first, a struggling and later a successful novelist. It has the
vigorous momentum of his fine novels and the patient attention to detail that allows us to enter
deeply into the textured life this remarkable man has led.
I love this little book. And I'm hugely proud to have published it. It reminds me of the best
of Tom McGuane, Bill Barish, John Gierach, and Ted Leeson. I hope you will read and like it
as much as I do – with a view toward giving it a serious review.
[signed] Nick Lyons
Chairman of the Board"
So with such a glowing review from Nick Lyons himself, I dove right in.
My impressions are not as favorable. Do understand I have not read any of Craig Nova's novels,
and they may be fine indeed. And there are some bits and pieces that are lovely. And some
that really aren't. (Particularly the underlying references to his libido and who got what where.)
Perhaps Nick Lyons is a personal friend and fishing companion of the author and finds more
between the lines than I found actually written.
The book, as I read it, is an answer to A River Runs Through It.
Sort of a "Hey - it ran though my life too. Except brook trout were my passion."
Unfortunately the author Craig Nova conveys none of the thoughtful influence which
is A River Runs Though It. (And which drew so many who read
it - or saw the film - to try fly fishing.)
Nearly every fisher who ever tied a fly on their leader is part of the 'River,'
so I suppose any fisher who ever pursued a brook trout should have the same
connection with BROOK TROUT AND THE WRITING LIFE. Not true.
What he really has written is a diary of sorts, one having to do with maintaining his
sanity when his life turns to crap. The answer, of course, is go fish.
But most of us knew that already. ~ DLB
BROOK TROUT AND THE WRITING LIFE
Hard Bound: $20.00 (ISBN: 1-55821-974-9)