In Casting Quiet Waters, some of North America’s most respected literary writers take us on a fishing trip and use that as an opportunity to explore issues of the human condition. A little more than five centuries ago an odd English nun named Dame Juliana Berners (?The Prioress of St. Albans”) wrote the first book about fishing. Her obscure but legendary tome, a Treatysse of Fyshynge wyth an Angle, is as much a work of philosophy as a how-to manual, and in it she prescribes fishing as “a cure for domestic calamatie.” This anthology responds to her advice. A dozen of North America’s top writers embark on individual fishing trips and see if limpid water and the silence of wild places will help them reflect on their own lives and calamities. The exploratory process of writing is not so different from the process of trawling the unknown invisible world beneath the surface of a river or lake. The angler and writer both toss lines, chase shadows, and spend countless hours pondering what might have been if they’d handled that last opportunity with more gentleness and skill.
Jake MacDonald is the author of In Bear Country, as well as five works of fiction. He is also an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in Sporting Classics, Saturday Night, Canadian Geographic, Maclean’s, and the Winnipeg Free Press. He lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba.