Still Life with Brook Trout

Book Review: John Gierach's "Still Life with Brook Trout"

First published on Fish & Fly, July 2005

When I finished John Gierach's last book before "Still Life with Brook Trout" - a slim-seeming volume entitled "At the Grave of the Unknown Fisherman" - I put it down with the depressing conviction that it was his last. Probably compounded by its title and year-book structure, the writing seemed to have a sad, elegiac quality, and I found it hard to believe I'd ever again experience that thrill I'd always felt on opening the covers of a new Gierach collection.

Thankfully, on this occasion my gut was wrong. With "Still Life...", Gierach has hit his tone again, returning to that relaxed yet haiku-perfect style that reads so easily - probably, and I'm not the first to suspect it, because it's so damn hard to bring off with such consistency.

Over the course of nineteen varied chapters, the author takes us fishing with him through his beloved, by-now-familiar corner of the Colorado Rockies, across the open plains to Nebraska and Wyoming, and even further afield to Oregon, Labrador, and Maine.

If "Still Life..." has one major theme, it's drought: obvious problems (fire, low flows and trout kills), unexpected benefits (fewer fishermen - they've all stayed home), and how to cope

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