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On the Water: A Fishing Memoir
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About the Author

Guy de la Valdene was born and raised in France His previous books include The Fragrance of Grass, For a Handful of Feathers, Making Game and a novel, Red Stag. His numerous articles have appeared in Sports Afield, Field & Stream and Gray's Sporting Journal. In addition, La Valdene is the director and producer of the highly acclaimed documentary Tarpon. Filmed in Key West in 1973 and featuring Richard Brautigan, Tom McGuane, and Jim Harrison, the film was recently restored and re-released. La Valdene lives on an 800-acre farm near Tallahassee, Florida.

Reviews

"Guy de la Valdene's sublime On the Water is the spiritual yin to The Old Man and the Sea's yang. De la Valdene engages with water, its creatures, and the fishing of them as a profound expression of connection and even love, a way into the self and into the wider universe that illuminates the deep nature of both. On the Water is an instant classic of a memoir." -Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain "One doesn't know whether to envy Guy de la Valdene more for the life he has had or the books he writes. This one, like Walden and Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, pulls a catch of big, finely scrutinized and rendered observations on man and nature from small water-interspersing an acutely-studied account of the natural history and seasonal life of a 27-acre lake on Valdene's property with exuberant fishing adventures from around the world. The resultant mixture of memory and desire, of wit and wisdom, is nothing less than a classic." -Charles Gaines, author of the National Book Award finalist Stay Hungry
"Guy de la Valdene's On The Water is more than a fishing memoir. He remembers his wild youth in the Caribbean, handling sharks at night and chasing waterspouts, and his intense days flyfishing in salt water with literary legends. He contrasts them both with wise and sometimes melancholy thoughts at the pond he made on his farm, seeing nature in this microcosm like a earthier version of an old Zen sage. Shake your head at the recklessness of youth, revel and laugh with the writers, and learn from his hard-won wisdom." - Steve Bodio, author of Field & Forest, Eternity of Eagles and many more.
Guy de la Valdene's On The Water is more than a fishing memoir. He remembers his wild youth in the Caribbean, handlining sharks at night and chasing waterspouts, and his intense days flyfishing in salt water with literary legends. He contrasts them both with wise and sometimes melancholy thoughts at the pond he made on his farm, seeing nature in this microcosm like a earthier version of an old Zen sage. Shake your head at the recklessness of youth, revel and laugh with the writers, and learn from his hard-won wisdom. * Field & Stream *
"Guy de la Valdene's On The Water is more than a fishing memoir. He remembers his wild youth in the Caribbean, handining sharks at night and chasing waterspouts, and his intense days flyfishing in salt water with literary legends. He contrasts them both with wise and sometimes melancholy thoughts at the pond he made on his farm, seeing nature in this microcosm like a earthier version of an old Zen sage. Shake your head at the recklessness of youth, revel and laugh with the writers, and learn from his hard-won wisdom." - Steve Bodio, author of Field & Forest, Eternity of Eagles and many more.
This utterly charming book is ostensibly about a man and his pond. . . .Valdene's observations about the pond he built on his northern Florida property, though, are merely the starting point, segueing seamlessly into autobiographical details of a life well lived, and one that has been centered around water. Valdene relates enchanting anecdotes about his boyhood, spent partly living in a castle in Normandy (Valdene is an actual French count), where he appears to have spent most of his time out-of-doors, chasing various finned creatures, from trout (some of which he manages, at one point, to actually tickle) to the ferocious and moody pike. . . .Valdene' is refreshingly unsentimental. This is not a finger-wagging book. Instead, Valdene views his life in the same way he does his pond: All of the different seasons warrant careful observations of their varied virtues and hardships. The book is almost worth it for Carl Hiaasen's beautiful introduction alone, truly one of the best I've ever read. * Forbes *
Hippo- 4 Stars `De la Valdene promises a fishing memoir, but it is more than that, a meditation on nature similar to the work of Thoreau or Henry Beston. ...There is comfort and inspiration on the water; de la Valdene masterfully shares it here.' Jennifer Graham
Gray's Sporting Journal - 4 1/2 stars `You will savor La Valdene's On the Water: A Fishing Memoir... , easily the best such book of our times, reminiscent in its passion for angling of Roderick Haig-Brown (still the only standard word considering). .. .The pond, which begins as an affair of surveying flags and bulldozers, becomes a gracefully wrought literary device that wanes and waxes through drought and rain across the pages of this extraordinary book, creating an intense meditation on nature and the seasons." - Christopher Camuto
Guy de la Valdene has quietly published a small handful of books that may go down as the best outdoor sport writing of his generation, his praises spoken among the cognoscenti of woods and water and, increasingly, among a larger audience for whom passages on fishing and nature form a backdrop for reflections on memory, aging, and mortality. A companion of sorts to La Valdene's The Fragrance of Grass, a collection of essays on hunting and nature, On The Water (with a foreword from the author's friend Carl Hiaasen) is an assemblage of pitch-perfect vignettes so aphoristic that to open the book anywhere is to be delighted and instructed by a writer whose work speaks to the power of earned experience. Critics compare La Valdene's writing to that of Aldo Leopold, Vladimir Nabokov, Antoine de Saint-Exupery, and Henry David Thoreau. Good company, that. And were they still with us, they'd be equally pleased to be counted in this. - Bookmark

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