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The Longest Silence: A Life In Fishing

By Thomas McGuane & Grover Gardner (Narrator)
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Item description for The Longest Silence: A Life In Fishing by Thomas McGuane & Grover Gardner...

A collection of breathtakingly exquisite essays born of a lifetime of fishing.

Outline Review
As adept as Thomas McGuane has been through the years with a rod in his hand, he's even more skillful with his pen. Join the two like tippet to leader, and the result's as irresistible as a Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear in the middle of a Hendrickson hatch.

For The Longest Silence, McGuane has trolled his inventory and assembled 33 essays written over three decades. Passionate, meditative, personal, and often very funny, they are filled with fellowship and connected by his love of angling. The title piece, a certified classic in the sporting genre, chronicles his quest for the elusive permit. Since permit is about the hardest fish to catch on a fly, the expected futility of not catching one hooks McGuane's introspection, and he weighs in with trophy prose: "What is emphatic in angling is made so by the long silences--the unproductive periods. For the ardent fisherman, progress is towards the kinds of fishing that are never productive in the sense of the blood riots of the hunting-and-fishing periodicals. Their illusions of continuous action evoke for him, finally, a condition of utter, mortuary boredom."

That's McGuane on angling in a nutshell; he knows the real action is internal. Whether he's casting for salmon in Russia ("Fly-Fishing the Evil Empire"), bonefish in the Florida Keys ("Close to the Bone"), or trout in Ireland ("Back in Ireland"), the catch is secondary to the pursuit, and the pursuit has as much to do with making sense of self and the universe as it does with anything aswim in a river. "When you get to the water you will be renewed," he assures. "Leave as much behind as possible. Those motives to screw your boss or employees, cheat on your spouse, rob the state, or humiliate your companions will not serve you well if you expect to be restored in the eyes of God, fish, and the river, which will reward you with hollow waste if you don't behave. You may be cursed. You may be shriven. You may be drowned. At the very least, you may snap off your fly in the bushes." McGuane clearly wades in with honest intentions; in The Longest Silence he casts cleanly to his target again and again. --Jeff Silverman

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Item Specifications...

Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 7.5" Height: 5.5"
Weight:   0.4 lbs.
Binding  CD
Release Date   Nov 25, 2005
Publisher   American Media International
ISBN  193237874X  
ISBN13  9781932378740  

Availability  0 units.

More About Thomas McGuane & Grover Gardner

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Thomas McGuane lives in McLeod, Montana. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the author of ten novels, three works of nonfiction, and two other collections of stories.
Thomas McGuane s "The Bushwacked Piano, The Cadence of Grass, Driving on the Rim, Gallatin Canyon, Keep the Change, The Longest Silence, Ninety-two in the Shade, Nobody s Angel, Nothing but Blue Skies, Panama, Some Horses, Something to Be Desired, The Sporting Club, "and "To Skin a Cat" are available in Vintage paperback."

Thomas McGuane currently resides in Sweet Grass County, in the state of Montana.

Thomas McGuane has published or released items in the following series...

  1. Penguin Classics

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Product Categories

1Books > Audio CDs > Nonfiction
2Books > Audio CDs > Sports & Outdoors
3Books > Subjects > Outdoors & Nature > Hunting & Fishing > Fishing > General
4Books > Subjects > Outdoors & Nature > Outdoor Recreation > Fishing
5Books > Subjects > Sports > General
6Books > Subjects > Sports > Miscellaneous > Essays

Reviews - What do customers think about The Longest Silence: A Life In Fishing?

Angling Soul Food  Jul 13, 2008
Rather than give you a "macro" review, I cover my favorite chapters of this book in sort of a micro-review fashion:

Back in Ireland - is as pointed and sharp as a tack. The story is as much about a time as it is about a place. McGuane reminds us that the intersection of time and space is unique as a snowflake hitting the warm ground.

Twlight in the Buffalo Paddock - McGuane takes us into a seemingly sterile (e.g., there's no fish in those casting ponds) and off-beat, urban setting in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. He points out the art as well as the pointlessness of false casting to plastic-ringed targets at a time when fly fishing is being passed up by faster, more extreme sports like skateboarding and BMX. But even in this setting, McGuane finds his perfect moment. It's a moment that draws many fly anglers back to their sport: "The ponds have gone silver. The emptiness around the few members who remain seems to make their casting more singular, more eloquent."

Henry's Fork - The author fishes the Henry's Fork of the Snake River with guide Mike Lawson. The essay turns into a bit of a rant with McGuane calling Idaho's Department of Fish and Game to the carpet. And like metaphoric bad-dog, rubbing their nose in a big pile of silt they left in the river.

World-Record Dinner - reads like a minor treatise on fly fishing the flats for mutton snapper. The mutton snapper as McGuane describes it -"not at all handsome, with its large and vacant-looking head" - earns more than respect - "difficult to deceive and very spooky" as an angler's quarry.

The Sea-Run Fish - is the most sharply pointed satire of the book, with a laser-like focus on an entire ontology of misdirected fly anglers. McGuane breaks them down into: The Rich, Old and New, Corporate Groups, Time Sharers, Spongers (which he claims membership to), and The Poacher. With some amount of after thought, he includes Steelheaders ("The first group, distinctly, are the original California steelheaders emanating from the Bay Area."), lodge denizens, and the roaming sponge.

I loved his take on fishing lodges: "The lodge has the unenviable job of maintaining living facilities, waterborne transport, and guides, as well as some level of communications and emergency medical capability in remote places. The logistics underlying this can resemble what in military parlance is called a task force, but it enables one to arrive with clothes and tackle only, and depart with no responsibilities for maintenance and other ordeals of the off-season, a real luxury. The downside is that it's not cheap and you never know who you'll be bunking with.... and if you travel long enough to so-called destination angling, you will meet some unparalleled Twinkies and monsters."

I could go on citing stories and pulling quotes from this book. But, instead I'll finish with 3 words of advice - get his book.
Longest Silence  Feb 8, 2008
Beautifully written and perhaps one of the best recent contributions to fly fishing literature.

Although I'm a fly fisherman, I'd even recommend it to non-anglers, who simply appreciate the writing craft at it's highest level.
smooth and satisfying  Dec 31, 2003
I am adding The Longest Silence to my list of favorite books on the subject of fly fishing. I do believe that some thoughts are too deep for words. But McGuane's words dive deeper than any book I've ever read. I admit, as a life long Michigan resident, that the first chapter based on the Pere Marquette River hooked me. But, as I read I realized that whether he wrote about Michigan, or Montana, or Argentina that the location is not what it's all about. It's about the long silent moments. Everything else "has nothing to do with the necessity but rather with the elaboration of the dream that is fishing".
One of the best about the silence and joy of fly fishig  Jan 18, 2002
Over the past 20 years I have fished great rivers, streams and oceans. True, this isn't about how to be an expert fly fisherman but more about how to appreciate the sport. The author captivates you from the start and gives a very personal touch to a very personal place and time. For those who have never tried or experienced fly fishing a stream in a secluded area or watched nature announce the arrival of salt water fish, this is a must read. Compared to many of the great writers on the subject, and there are many, this writer raises the bar and leaves you wanting more.
The examined life (and fly fishing, too).  Nov 6, 2001
Well crafted, clean prose. A delight and a high spot in this year's reading.

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