NEW BOOK OF SHORT STORIES BY WOLF AVNI, ~ author of the acclaimed A MEAN-MOUTHED, HOOK-JAWED, BAD-NEWS, SON-OF-A-FISH ( Booksellers Choice finalist 1998, currently in 2nd reprint, 9,000 copies sold ).
Published by GONZO FISH’N.
FIRST EDITION, September 2007
Introductory offer R198.00 (plus postage R20)
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ACCT NO; 258 247 118
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EXCERPT FROM FOREWORD
The thing about Wolf is that you’ll never catch him in sheep’s clothing. He might spend his life luring trout in a ballet of promise and deceit, but by Gonzo when he has something to say there’s no doubting its meaning
The joy of these tales of Wolf’s is that they are simultaneously practical, romantic, philosophical and pugnacious. Like the man himself. To meet him you’d think more streetwise big-city bruiser than trout fisherman. He’s far removed from the tweedy stereotype for whom fishing with flies is a social accessory, a signboard of success.
This raspy-voiced, sharp-tongued, straight-talking mountain man strips the sport of its pretensions, asserting its value and pleasure as an elemental human activity.
...the writing is rambunctious and elegant, chaotic and clever, and doffs its cap often at the spirit and style of Hunter S Thompson. Prepare yourself for a journey of paradox, revelation and wisdom under the guidance of a red-blooded storyteller.
Dep. Editor, The Natal Witness.
EXCERPT FROM INTRODUCTION
This is no ordinary book about fly fishing, but then Wolf Avni is no ordinary fly fisher. It follows A Mean-Mouthed Hook-Jawed Bad-news Son-of-a-Fish, his celebrated first collection of fly fishing essays and is of similar genre, though it’s a more expansive and in some ways, more daring work. The thing about Avni is he holds no punches, writes extremely well and should really have been a satirist by profession, not the commercial fisher, diver, professional photographer that he was and farmer that he now is. Had he become a satirist he would have been up there with the likes of the late Robert Kirby, who himself was a fly fisher by the way. I say this because unlike the angels, Avni fears not where he treads and writes with superb honesty.
This book is a subtly well balanced mix of autobiographical, anecdotal, lighthearted, serious, sobering and hilarious essays. Well, that’s how I would describe it using the short route. There’s no single type of fly fishing writing that is characterized here. Rather Wolf adds samples on just about everything that is likely to enter a fly fisher’s radar screen and some on subjects that are unlikely to enter it. In this regard one can say he writes like a naturalist, like a trout bum and at times like a radical fly fishing activist. So it’s as eclectic a dip into the world of fly fishing as you’ll come across.
I personally love Avni’s writing best when he’s at home being Avni; Avni the grower of trout, the farmer, the husband, the host to crazy visitors, the occasionally desperate fly fisher, the mentor to those struggling with the sport, the part-time fly fishing guide, the man who lives in possibly the loveliest, mountain cradle known to man, Giant’s Cup. If Giant’s Cup were not already part of a World Heritage Site, it’s the kind of place you would find yourself asking, “Why the hell not?” Giant’s Cup is the sort of setting in scale, grandeur and magnificence that makes you believe this is where God intended to put his country residence. And it’s here where Avni sits doing his writing, looking across a long view that moves the eye over the waters of his sparkling lake and on into the misty-green slopes and towering rocky temples of the Drakensberg.
And it’s here where Avni fishes, hosts fishing visitors, grows trout, enjoys nature’s gifts ( ‘”Up behind the farmhouse at the far boundary of the garden, fringing a stand of pines, chestnuts have ripened and are falling to ground, helped on their way by the antics of our Goschen baboons gone berserk,...”), gets wrapped in the fury of storms, (“The air was brittle and smelled faintly of ozone. Overhead, a stack of grey-brown cloud pressed aggressively in against the mountain and swirled down the valley, choking every familiar feature and buttress, blurring the contours between air, water and land” ), has his white-knuckled winter hands in icy water stripping trout and, happily for us, writes about all of these. And he writes about them in ways that bring their imagery sharply to your mind, wonderfully transferred through the engaging energy of his words.
There is much that I really enjoyed in this book, not least the words he chooses to describe things I know and love and enjoy. The book brings alive the passions and pleasures of our sport, some of its troughs and some of its not uncommon despairs. There is much that you will immediately identify with and much that you will want to lift from the pages, store in your head, and contemplate privately in your own time. The writing is strong and provocative in places and mild and evocative in others. It is its very own fly fishing book this one and it’s a little masterpiece.