"Lost fish," writes Howell Raines, "chasten us to the knowledge that we are all, in each and every moment, dwindling. Imagine my surprise when I discovered well into my sixth decade that losing fish can prepare us for a blessing as well as for pain."
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Confronting loss -- of an elusive fish or something larger
-- is at the heart of The One That Got Away, the
graceful sequel to Raines's much-loved, bestselling memoir
Fly Fishing Through the Midlife Crisis, published to
great acclaim in 1993. With the same winning combination of
reminiscences, anecdotes, philosophy and fishing lore, his
bold new memoir covers the eventful years in this latest
passage of his life, and the realization that in
relinquishing his former identity as a newspaperman he has
actually gotten what he wanted, just in the most unlikely
In wry and witty prose, Raines shifts
between fishing vignettes and personal reflections on his
childhood, his second marriage, his relationships with his
two sons, the trajectory of his career at The New York
Times and his move toward old age. At the center of his
narrative is his most thrilling fishing adventure -- an epic
battle with a marlin he hooked and fought for more than
seven hours in the South Pacific -- which comes to symbolize
his growing understanding and acceptance of the
unpredictability of luck, love, lies and life, and how the
unexpected can, in fact, be an opportunity to make life more
Raines's wonderful descriptions of
streams, people and fish; his passion for angling and
writing; and his wise and perceptive commentary on the
vagaries of his own life combine to create a profound book
-- one of undeniable appeal and uncommon heart.
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