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Lines on the Water
Cover of Lines on the Water
Lines on the Water
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In Lines on the Water, David Adams Richards writes eloquently and movingly about his life on the shores of one of the world's great fishing rivers. With the same insight and emotion that have won him praise for his fiction, Richards brings to life a community centred on fly-fishing — a sport that has become, for many, a way of life. Weaving together tales of the guides and poachers, the "sports" and the city slickers, Richards pays tribute to all who have shared in the joy of fishing the Miramichi.
This is a book about our relationship with nature, about hunters and fishermen, friendship and family, history and memory. Lines on the Water teems with lore and wisdom, humour, and most of all, passion.
In Lines on the Water, David Adams Richards writes eloquently and movingly about his life on the shores of one of the world's great fishing rivers. With the same insight and emotion that have won him praise for his fiction, Richards brings to life a community centred on fly-fishing — a sport that has become, for many, a way of life. Weaving together tales of the guides and poachers, the "sports" and the city slickers, Richards pays tribute to all who have shared in the joy of fishing the Miramichi.
This is a book about our relationship with nature, about hunters and fishermen, friendship and family, history and memory. Lines on the Water teems with lore and wisdom, humour, and most of all, passion.
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Excerpts-
  • Chapter One

    I remember the water as dark and clear at the same time -- and by clear I suppose I mean clean. Sometimes it looked like gold or copper, and at dusk the eddies splashed silver-toned, and babbled like all the musical instruments of the world. I still think of it this way now, years later.

    As a child I had the idea that the trout were golden, or green, in the deep pools hidden away under the moss of a riverbank. And that some day I would walk in the right direction , take all the right paths to river and find them there.

    In fact, trout, I learned, were far more textured and a better colour tan just golds and greens. They were the colour of nature itself -- as naturally outfitted in their coat of thin slime as God could manage. They were hidden around bends and in the deep shaded pools of my youth.

    I had the impression from those Mother Goose stories that all fish could talk. I still do.

    My first fishing foray was along the bank of a small brook to the northwest of Newcastle, on the Miramichi. A sparkling old brook that lord Beaverbrook took his name from.

    My older brother and a friend took me along with them, on a cool blowy day. We had small cane rods and old manual reels, with hooks and sinkers and worms, the kind all kids used. The kind my wife used as a child on the Bartibog River thirteen miles downriver from my town of Newcastle, and her brothers used also, at the same time that I was trudging with my brother.

    It was a Saturday in May of 1955 and I was not yet five years of age. Fishing even then could take me out of myself, far away from the worry of my life, such as it was, and into another life better and more complete.

    We had packed a lunch an had got to the brook about ten in the morning. Just as we entered the woods, I saw the brook, which seemed to be no deeper in places than my shoe. In we went (a certain distance) until the sounds of the town below us were left behind.

    Leaning across the brook was a maple, with its branches dipping into the water. At the upper end of the tree, the current swept about a boulder, and gently tailed away into a deep pocket about a foot from the branches. The place was shaded, and the sunlight filtered through the trees on the water beyond us. The boys were in a hurry and moved on to that place where all the fish really are. And I lagged behind. I was never any good at keeping up, having a lame left side, so most of the time my older brother made auxiliary rules for me -- rules that by and large excluded me.

    "You can fish there, " he said.

    I nodded. " Where?"

    "There, see. Look -- right there. Water. Fish. Go at her. We'll be back."

    I nodded. I sat down on the moss and looked about, and could see that my brother and his friends were going away from me. I was alone. So I took out my sandwich and ate it. ( It was in one pocket, my worms were in the other. My brother doled the worms out to me a few at a time.)

    I was not supposed to be, from our mother's instructions, alone.

    "For Mary in heaven's sake, don't leave your little brother alone in the woods." I could hear her words.

    I could also hear my brother and our friend moving away, and leaving me where I was. In this little place we out of sight of one another after about twenty feet. I had not yet learned to tie my sneakers: they had been tied for me by my brother in a hurry, for the second time, at the railway track, and here again they were loose. So I took them of. And then I rolled up my pants.

    I had four worms in my pocket. They smelled of the dark earth near my grandmother's back garden where they had come from, and all worms smell of earth,...

About the Author-
  • David Adams Richards is an award-winning author of both fiction and non-fiction. His meditation on the joys of fly-fishing, Lines on the Water, published by Doubleday Canada, won the Governor General's Award in 1998. His previous non-fiction book with Doubleday Canada, Hockey Dreams, was a national bestseller. As a novelist, Richards is best known for his Miramichi trilogy: Nights Below Station Street (1988), winner of the Governor General's Award; Evening Snow Will Bring Such Peace (1990), winner of the Canadian Authors Association Award; and For Those Who Hunt the Wounded Down. His novel The Bay of Love and Sorrows, published in 1998, received widespread critical acclaim.

Reviews-
  • Paul Quarrington, author of Fishing With My Old Guy

    "Lines on the Water reminds me why I love to fish and, more importantly, Richards' fine writing reminds me why I love to read."

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    Doubleday Canada
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