Fly Fishing Books: River of Dreams

February 11, 2006 By: Marshall Cutchin

There’s little denying the achievements of fly fishing writers in books that are forty, seventy, even a hundred years old. We can all choose to be closet classicists, lulled into a prejudice that most of the good stuff is already written.
Then a book like Lani Waller’s comes along. I read River of Dreams cover to cover in two sittings. My “sittings” are usually an hour or so in the middle of befuddling work days, and it takes a lot to penetrate the fog. But Lani’s stories are engrossing, well-crafted, and likeable. As soon as we get over the chill of Waller’s first chapter — his dreamlike emergence from a horrific plane crash in the Alaskan bush — we’re stirred by prose that warms and personalizes, wrapping itself around a variety of adventures, from illicit experiments in gardening to this week’s excerpt on MidCurrent about stumbling toward angling nirvana in New Zealand.
It’s worth noting too that Waller’s book was published in 2004 by a small publishing company with as yet only a handful of titles: West River Publishing. Small publishers putting out books like Waller’s are a nice reminder that in the business of fly fishing size doesn’t always rule.