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First Glance: John Gierach's "All Fishermen Are Liars"

Posted by Tom Chandler 4/9/2014

The review copy of John Gierach's latest effort (All Fishermen Are Liars) arrived Saturday, and while I'm just getting started, I admit to a little concern.

His first essay is essentially a summary of his writing and fly fishing life.

Which feels a little... final.

john gierach, all fishermen are liars The latest from Gierach. More as I read it.

More as it unfolds.

See you between the covers, Tom Chandler.

AuthorPicture

Tom Chandler

As the author of the decade leading fly fishing blog Trout Underground, Tom believes that fishing is not about measuring the experience but instead of about having fun. As a staunch environmentalist, he brings to the Yobi Community thought leadership on environmental and access issues facing us today.

10 comments
It was also odd that A.K. Best is mentioned in that first chapter but in none of the chapters after that. Did they have a falling out? Or did their lives just move in different directions?A couple books ago, Gierach mentioned that he and AK weren't fishing together very much because of their schedules, and that at one point, he went to call A.K. and couldn't remember the phone number. In his prior ... more book, he seemed to be taking a lot of solo trips, and I asked him about that. His take was that the economy sucked and all his friends were broke, so he was going fishing alone a lot more often.
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I just finished the book today. My subscription to FR&R expired several years ago so all the essays in the book were new to me. It was a little odd that the first chapter was a summary of his life. Normally you see such chapters at the end of a book, not at the beginning. It was also odd that A.K. Best is mentioned in that first chapter but in none of the chapters after that. Did they have a falling ... more out? Or did their lives just move in different directions?
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Idaho steel: I didn’t find that first chapter too ominously final. More of a condensed memoir in the second person. I pictured John sitting down and thinking back on the last forty years, asking himself, “now how the hell did that happen…” I wouldn't suggest it was written to be final, but I did find myself wondering why he opened he book with a look back, and if there was something we didn't ... more know that he did. And yes, I just finished the book and his humor was a little edgier. Ah well. Time to write a review.
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I didn't find that first chapter too ominously final. More of a condensed memoir in the second person. I pictured John sitting down and thinking back on the last forty years, asking himself, "now how the hell did that happen..." These days, life can be a constant battle against cynicism. Particularly when you view the world from our fairly singular point of view. In this book, as in the last, I found ... more his humor edgier and his observations more acerbic.
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A. Wannabe Travelwriter: As a wannabe travel writer, and as a wannabe fisherman, thank goodness I can compliment my lack of writing and fishing acumen, with my lack of accuracy in reporting on them.There is an important, elemental, life-changing concept at work somewhere in this sentence. I'm just not sure exactly where. Still, you may have inadvertently spawned the tagline for my writing/marketing ... more company...
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A few years ago, a published travel writer penned a somewhat controversial book titled, "smile when you're lying," about travel writers making shit up. As a wannabe travel writer, and as a wannabe fisherman, thank goodness I can compliment my lack of writing and fishing acumen, with my lack of accuracy in reporting on them. As my dad used to say, the second liar doesn't have a chance.
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Steve Z: That sounds vaguely familiar. Was that a previously published piece? Probably. It's pretty common to gather essays and columns published elsewhere into a book. The good news for me is I let my FR&R subscription collapse. So they're mostly new to me.
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That sounds vaguely familiar. Was that a previously published piece?
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Haven't read enough of the book to gain a sense of context, so for now, the summary sticks out. I remember finishing his "Grave of the Unknown Fisherman" and thinking that was someone who had glimpsed his mortality. Later, Gierach told me the book was in response to 9/11, so I wasn't far off. We'll see where this one ends up.
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It is possible, you know, to wait too long to write a summary of your life. The trick, I guess, is to wait, and wait, and then time it . . . just right. Thankfully, most people wait too long. But we'd be the lesser if Gierach waited too long.
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