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by Rich Chiappone
Richard Chiappone elongates the fishing-writing genre like a perfect backcast, suggesting that he finds almost anything a fisherman does interesting--anything but the actual fishing. He describes only one sport fish landed--a late season Alaskan steelhead too cold to put up a fuss about being hooked. In another piece, he never gets any farther than his own backyard, standing in a midwinter snow bank, casting to house cats. The essays, both funny and touching, reveal him as a writer of stark contradictions: a man who despises winter and loves living in Alaska, who thinks that the Clean Water Act ruined as much as it fixed.