A DIFFERENT ANGLE - Fly Fishing Stories by Women

reviewed by Louis Bignami

There's an old Rex Reed joke about a review that ran, "Loved the title. Hated the movie." I don't know if Editor Holly Morris is responsible for the sub-title, or if the blame lies with the publisher, Seal Press that specializes in what, judging from this book, must be exceedingly fine stories by and about women. I'll know shortly, I plan to review more!

What's my complaint? A Different Angle both celebrates and transcends gender. It's not full of "Fly Fishing Stories by Women." It offers up seventeen wonderful stories full of insightful and humorous comments on the human condition. Fishing adventures in Outer Mongolia alternate with the bloody details of working in an Alaskan cannery to support a fishing habit.

Our Fine Travel Humor Editor, Lin Sutherland's River Ran Over Me demonstrates the humorous side of the collection. Joan Wullf's A Fly Fishing Life celebrates her father's influence. I'll not tip the rest save to say that you'll hear seventeen entirely different voices that, like a madrigal group, blend beautifully. I read this at a sitting; now the book sits ready to be reread on our coffee table.

It's difficult to say who would appreciate this book more, a young or mature lady -- please insert whatever's politically correct these days -- considering pursuits piscatorial, or a grouchy old fossil like this reviewer who appreciates the prose and the different viewpoint. It's easy to say who needs to read this the most, but putting this book, and in particular sections like the hysterically funny Women in the Stream in the hands of a chauvinist porker could be a bit like inviting Dice Clay to a NOW meeting.

I'd buy this one for your personal collection -- Lin Sutherland will even autograph one. Then I'd buy more for presents. Then I'd bug the local library to buy another for the literary freeloaders in our midst who don't buy books and the kids who can't afford them. For A Different Angle, while a pungent piscatorial pun, is also the kind of classic that improves with every read. It would be worth the purchase just for the arguments it's sure to raise in trout camp.