It was a good week when I had the complete and utter joy of requesting and receiving an early copy of Josh Greenberg’s memoir/journal/ruminations called Trout Water: A Year on the Au Sable! What was your last nonfiction read??
Bookish Quick Facts:
- Title: Trout Water
- Author: Josh Greenberg
- Publisher & Release: Melville House, 3/23/21
- Length: 176 pg
- Rate & Recommend: 🌟🌟🌟🌟✨ yes for fishermen and fans of nature stories!
Here is the synopsis from GoodReads:
It’s the beginning of trout fishing season, and Josh Greenberg — proprietor of one of the nation’s most famous fishing outfitters, on America’s most iconic trout-fishing stream, the Au Sable River in Michigan —is standing in the Au Sable at dusk when he gets the call that a dear fishing buddy has died.
The solace he takes from fishing — from reading the movement of the river water, studying the play of the light, and relying on his knowledge of insect and fish life — prompts him to reflect on the impact of the natural world on his life in his fisherman’s journal.
Over the course of a year, the journal transcends fishing notes to include some beautifully lyrical nature writing, entertaining stories of the big one that got away, cheerful introspection about a love that’s hard to explain, and yes, a tip or two.
Eventually, Josh Greenberg realizes he hasn’t been all alone in the woods, not really. Much of his relationship with his family and friends has played out on the river. And as he catches — and releases — trout after trout back into one of the most beautiful rivers in America, Greenberg comes to help us realize, too, that there’s more to fishing than catching fish.
What. A. Joy. The novel opens with the death of a colleague, where he is putting such importance on a phone call that he hardly remembered afterwards, but he remembered the trout rising that evening. Afterwards we follow him through memories, fishing trips, outings with his sons and family, and even an encounter with what might just have been an Indian skin-walker!
I liked the little bit of actual mysticism that was added in along with the generalized mysticism that anglers like to tie into fly fishing.
For non fishermen this book might drag at times, but I am seeing good reviews from casual readers that just Googled a few more perplexing terms. Don’t know what a hex formata is? Google the term and then let Greenberg take you there!
The descriptions of the waters, scenery, trout, flies, hatches, and life’s toll in general are borderline reverent. I felt so THERE while reading. I could have been wading in the shallows watching for a rise, the last reflection of the light dulling the waters. Greenberg offers a few good tips as well, of course, but I think his descriptive style is the strong point in Trout Water.
I grew up on a salmon river and it wasn’t until I went out west and started learning to fly fish that I started appreciating literature on the sport. I have so much respect for this author and think the book is a great addition to the growing body of fly fishing literature.
I don’t know so many non-fiction but readable stories for non-anglers, but this book would read as a simple good story as well. For fictional books I think Norman MacLean is a staple, obviously, and I have to recommend my dads book too! Anyone have any other good fishing book recommendations?