Death Taxes and Leaky Waders: A John Gierach Fly-Fishing Treasury

John Gierach, Author, Glenn Wolff, Illustrator Simon & Schuster $25 (414p) ISBN 978-0-684-86858-5
Gierach, perhaps the most original, entertaining and keen outdoors writer working today, is in fine form in this anthology of 40 stories, which the author has selected from his past books. In pursuit of noble trout, scrappy bluegill and other fish, Gierach (Trout Bum, Fishing Bamboo, etc.) has traveled from Texas to Scotland and back again. Here he treats readers to observations compassionate, scathing and frequently hilarious. Though once a philosophy major who harbored more serious literary ambitions, Gierach writes without a trace of pretension, a trait that sets him refreshingly apart from other fly fishermen, whose disdain for spin casters is mostly unwarranted and always tiresome. Gierach dissects the issue with his usual wit in one of the book's finer essays, ""The Purist."" Speaking of the fly-fishing elite, he writes, ""To do it right you'd have to live naked in a cave, hit your trout on the head with rocks, and eat them raw. But, so as not to violate another essential element of the fly-fishing tradition, the rocks would have to be quarried in England and cost $300 each."" As the stories are all culled from past works, longtime fans will find nothing new except the largely unremarkable illustrations that introduce each chapter. But for those lovers of outdoors writing who are uninitiated to Gierach's style, a finer collection of the author's work could scarcely be found. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/29/2000
Release date: 06/01/2000
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