cover image Kerplunk


Patrick F. McManus, Author . Simon & Schuster $24 (227p) ISBN 978-0-7432-8049-5

This gently humorous essay collection by Outdoor Life columnist McManus (The Bear in the Attic ) explores hunting and fishing in the Pacific Northwest. As he wryly explains in “The Kind of Guy I Am,” McManus's literary persona is an aw-shucks middle-aged married guy with four daughters who dreams of his flies, reels, waders and snowshoes while on vacation with his wife in Venice. Hoping to someday be like Rancid Crabtree, an old man who lives in a “slab shack” against the mountain and does nothing all day but hunt and fish (“The Ideal Life”), McManus and his buddy Fenton Quagmire jettison the high-tech camping gear and attempt to rough it Thoreau-style (“Back to Basics”), with predictably hilarious results. Other tales involve learning how to be patient while fishing (“A Dimple in Time”) and enlightening one's fishing partners on how the moon determines the tides (“Where's Mr. Sun?”). McManus narrates his woodsy stories with a laid-back style that will earn many smiles of fond recognition from anyone who's heard a guide say, “I know there used to be a trail here.” (Nov.)