Review: In Hemingway's Meadow

  • By: Seth Norman
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In Hemingway’s Meadow:

Award-Winning Fly-Fishing Stories

Edited by Joe Healy

2009; Fly Rod & Reel Books; paperback; $16.95;

Speaking about caveats: boy, has it been awkward, avoiding writing a review of this book. Like sitting on your hands in your sixth-grade class as a teacher describes the actions of a local war hero, trying not to wave wildly and shout “That’s my Dad!” Awkward, but here’s why, offered in this column’s first ever bullet points:

• Fly Rod & Reel Books published In Hemingway’s Meadow, which profits the John D. Voelker Foundation, sponsor of the Traver Fly-Fishing Writing Award;

• The Traver appears yearly in this magazine, and this book is a compilation of winners and several strong finalists;

• One of my pieces appears within, because I was long ago a Traver bridesmaid and the committee back then may have feared I was getting fat for that dress;

• Since then I’ve helped judge Traver submissions, one of a half-dozen who engage a polite, literate and vigorous discussion of manuscripts delivered to us without author’s names;

• Many other of the author’s included in Meadow have appeared again in FR&R, some often;

• I’ve met several, all after they won, including one who once helped me out of a Bozeman bar. (I’m not certain about that, and I don’t really believe that was Hemingway on my left side, but I do know I wasn’t done with my drink.)

All the above serves as a preface just to write this: In Hemingway’s Meadow contains many of the best fly-fishing short-stories published in the last 15 years, written by some—maybe most—of the best fiction writers working in the field today. Not only that, The Voelker Foundation has done more to promote this genre than any other organization I know of, or even all others combined. There.