Northwest of Normal
Book review: Northwest of Normal by John Larison
This is not a fishing book - it is fiction, a novel, and an easy fun read. While the story is not about fishing, a contemporary (youthful) subculture of steelhead angling pervades much of the storyline and the life of Andy Trib, a fly fishing guide who returns to the valley of his becoming after a prolonged absence that started the day before his closest fishing buddy was slated to marry the love of his life. The story is of his re-immersion in that place and its people, meeting up with old friends and finding new ones, learning of the impending development of sacred lands and waters (and of the complicit, illicit, and complex nature of his friends' involvement), of getting “lost” at the local annual carnival, and of finding solace in the only place that he was ever truly comfortable - on the water. Andy’s life has taken some turns, that’s for sure, in the form of messed up relationships with lovers, bosses, friends, and parents. If you had some freewheeling years as a teen or 20-something (or still do) and understand that life’s ride sometimes swerves across the lines far enough that the safest way out can appear to be on the opposite shoulder, then you’ll probably enjoy this book’s ride. The writing is clear and easy, not overly gushing as fishing prose often is, and seems to slide from brain to page, unfiltered. The grime makes it go.
and since this is a spey site, I should mention that this is perhaps the only book of fiction to have ever mentioned Burkheimer spey rods, and I’d say that the choice of the 8134 instead of the 8139 is allegorical in its own right. This book’s presentation is not a carefully measured long-line treatment of life’s finer things, ending in a delicate kiss that covers the water in a big slow arc … but instead tosses some big bugs out there, doing whatever it takes, some casts you didn't think were possible, hitting seams and boulders with all sorts of stuff hanging overhead - just hoping for a grab. Even tough days on the water are worth it, and they make the easy ones even sweeter.
CF Burkheimer fly rods advisory staff
Nextcast lines pro staff