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Brook Trout and the Writing Life: The Intermingling of Fishing and Writing in a Novelist's Life

Craig Nova

Hub City Press
$15.95 paperback
5¼ x 8  
176 pages
8 black-and-white photos
Ann Beattie, introduction
May 2011

In this memoir, novelist Craig Nova explores the interconnections between his work as a writer, his personal life, and his passion for fly-fishing. Nova leads the reader into his courtship, marriage, the birth of his children, and his life as a father, husband, writer, friend, citizen, and angler. Just as the author observes the life of the elusive and beautiful brook trout in the tea-colored streams, he finds interconnections to his daily life—he teaches his daughter to build an igloo; he deals with the disappointment of a very public mean-spirited review of his much-anticipated novel; he gazes at his wife-to-be in her hammock by a stream; he finds himself the victim of a random blackmailer.

Unpredictable and keenly observed, Nova leads us through the terrain of the life of an artist. The one constant is the stream and the brook trout which offer both respite from the demands of his life and a wellspring of inspiration and strength. It is a paean to nature and the beauty of the brook trout.

This autobiography is a reprint and expansion of Nova's highly regarded memoir originally published in 1999. This new edition includes substantial sections of new work and an introduction by Ann Beattie.


"Craig Nova, one of the most distinctive voices and visionaries in American fiction, works close to the bone, but never forgets to see things from afar." —Ann Beattie
"Craig Nova's sensitive and vivid memoir... records events —but he's casting for a larger catch: what swims at mysterious depths. His brilliant prose spars with experience, pulling in the line closer and closer to the quick of life. When a salmon takes the fly with a "tock" sound, Nova muses that the sound is like 'knocking a knuckle against a violin' or 'knocking on the coffin one will occupy one day.' Such metaphoric associations free the prose to absorb levels and levels of connection. Brook Trout, over and over, takes you there—where elusive and slippery meaning might almost arc into the net." —Frances Mayes
"This is an unusual fishing book, in that it isn't about fishing fro trophies or food or enlightenment, and unusual, too, in its quiet elegance. In Mr. Nova's hands, fishing reveals a life in which fishing connects the parts. It becomes a means of getting at qualities of the natural world that consciousness grasps but can't quite express. This is a short book that gives long, lingering pleasure." —Tracy Kidder, author of Strength in What Remains
"Craig Nova is one of the best... if you haven't read him, the loss is yours." —Jonathan Yardley