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The Fish's Eye: Essays About Angling and the Outdoors    by Ian Frazier order for
Fish's Eye
by Ian Frazier
Order:  USA  Can
Picador, 2003 (2002)
Hardcover, Paperback, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

One needn't be an angler to enjoy The Fish's Eye. Ian Frazier (he's a frequent contributor to New Yorker) writes refreshing and uplifting essays. Unlike so many outdoorsmen, Frazier does not constantly lament the loss of pristine waterways. He sees potential fishing 'lies' almost anywhere - from the Hudson River in New York, New York's Grand Central Station, to a pond in a city park, the Florida Keys, and even downtown Cincinnati.

He quotes Izaak Walton in The Complete Angler, 'For Angling is somewhat like poetry, men are born to be so', as a sort of justification for his need to put hook on line; to put on his waders and explore the waters of his world. A friend told him 'The romance of fishing isn't all just fish.' The essays in The Fish's Eye prove that statement. The author feels the pull of the water and the desire to be standing in it fishing for that big one - the one that he usually releases back to the river or stream or pond or brook where he has caught it.

Frazier's descriptions of his surroundings reflect an obvious love for nature. One can almost feel the dawn sun just breaking in the sky, the slippery creek bed underfoot, the call of the early morning bird, the mist rising off the water, the sound of a breeze brushing through trees. I wished I was there with him when he explored the West Branch of the Ausable, an Adirondack river three hundred miles north of Manhattan. 'Tea-colored water pours steadily over lips as smooth as subway stairs. Cliffs of granite climb from the river in small terraces of pine and alder ... The underwater rocks are so slick with gray-green algae that you have to grope along each one with your foot as you wade.' Sounds like a place I would like to be.

I have to admit his proclivity for eating mayflies is something, in which I would not like to indulge, but ... his description of the process did make me want to try it; once. The Fish's Eye is a book to read and keep. Pull it out on a dark wintry night and allow your senses to travel with Ian Frazier to his favorite fishing holes. He's written seven other books, including Great Plains and On the Rez. Now that I have discovered this author, I'm looking forward to reading more of him.

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