Body of Water : A Sage, a Seeker, and the World's Most Elusive Fish
Chris Dombrowski was playing a numbers game: two passions--poetry and fly-fishing; two children, one of them in utero; and an income hovering perilously close to zero. Enter, at this particularly challenging moment, a miraculous email: can't go, it's all paid for, just book a flight to Miami. Thus began a journey that would lead to the Bahamas and to David Pinder, a legendary bonefishing guide. Bonefish are prized for their elusiveness and their tenacity. And no one was better at hunting them than Pinder, a Bahamian whose accuracy and patience were virtuosic. He knows what the fish think, said one fisherman, before they think it. By the time Dombrowski meets Pinder, however, he has been abandoned by the industry he helped build. With cataracts from a lifetime of staring at the water and a tiny severance package after forty years of service, he watches as the world of his beloved bonefish is degraded by tourists he himself did so much to attract. But as Pinder's stories unfold, Dombrowski discovers a profound integrity and wisdom in the guide's life.
- Hardback | 232 pages
- 140 x 216 x 22.86mm | 426g
- 18 Oct 2016
- Milkweed Editions
- Minneapolis, United States
Praise for Body of Water "Body of Water reminded me of Gary Snyder one minute and John McPhee the next. In this way we get an effortless sense of place. [I] wish that more fishing books were written by poets."--John Gierach, Wall Street Journal "Dombrowski elevates the fly-fishing-as-meditation narrative by the sheer fact that he's so damn good at writing about it. There's prose and practicality in equal parts, so the allure of the sport comes through without any condescension or snooze factor."--Outside "Strikes a delicate balance between reflective memoir and reportage. Body of Water is about bonefishing, but it is also about ecosystem exploitation, class conflict, wealth inequity, race relations, Bahamian history, mentor-mentee relationships, nature as the catalyst for self-awareness, and more."--Star Tribune "A lyrical, genre-defying tribute. Drawing on Caribbean history and the evolution of fly-fishing, Dombrowski's foray into nonfiction proves thematically complex, finely wrought, and profoundly life-affirming."--Publishers Weekly STARRED REVIEW "Body of Water is a metaphor-laced meditation on the art and practice of fly-fishing, the social and economic history of the Bahamas, the evolution of archipelago geology and the chronicle of Dombrowski's personal struggle to juggle his fishing and poetry obsessions against the financial needs of his own family."--Shelf Awareness "In waters frequented by literary greats like Ernest Hemingway and Zane Grey, Dombrowski is in heady company tackling this subject, but he proves himself more than up to the challenge, effectively not only conveying his passion for the sport but also giving readers a peek into the area's history and Pinder's place within it. This is the stuff of men and boats and saltwater and meditations on what it means to take the sea in search of one great catch. Have no doubt--fishing literature has a new star." --Booklist "A brilliant book. Destined to be a classic." --Jim Harrison "This is some of the best writing that you'll ever read about fishing. But Body of Water achieves even more--it's a passionate, luminous, completely delightful book."--Ian Frazier "This gorgeous work wastes not a word on fly-fishing basics. It dives Moby-Dick-deep into a famed sport and livelihood's very essence, and never leaves. In the hands of veteran trout guide and poet Chris Dombrowski, the 'Abraham' of Caribbean guides, David Pinder Sr., becomes the perfect embodiment of the near mystery religion that is saltwater-flats fishing. Via the hearts of two men utterly in love with the wounded world in which their calling takes place, Body of Water then pours forth beauties, subtleties, dark history, and insight with an unforced lyrical power I associate with no lesser word than 'masterpiece.' Dombrowski's Michigan-to-Montana trajectory updates Jim Harrison, his comedic fishing scenes bear comparison to Thomas McGuane, and his powers of ebullient reflection bring to mind Mary Oliver--yet I've read no book anything like Body of Water, and enjoyed no book in memory more."--David James Duncan "Chris Dombrowski has fetched up a marvel. So very much is in it--geology, biology, fishing lore; conservation and natural history and personal quest--all seen by a wondrously limber mind traversing space and time. I don't fish but this scarcely matters--Body of Water is about being alive. An abundant and reverential feast of a book."--Noy Holland, author of Bird "Body of Water hits you in two ways. The first is obvious--this is a book about fish and fishing from a writer who's put in the time to know what he's talking about. But the second takes you by surprise: at its core, Body of Water is about our increasingly tenuous connection to nature, from a poet who understands the source of that strange and melancholic joy that we are blessed with only when we stand in wild places."--Steven Rinella, author of Meat Eater: Adventures from the Life of an American Hunter "Uncanny and moving. This book will not only make you change your vacation plans, it might make you change your life. A reverent, almost holy book, of angling lore."--Debra Magpie Earling, author of Perma Red "Chris Dombrowski makes the East End of Grand Bahama Island rise right up out of green water and live on the printed page. But his lasting achievement is in giving an old forgotten man of the sea named David Pinder his beautiful bonefishing due."--Paul Hendrickson, author of Hemingway's Boat: Everything He Loved in Life, and Lost
About Chris Dombrowski
Born in Michigan, Chris Dombrowski earned his MFA from the University of Montana. His publications include two collections of poems, By Cold Water (2009) and Earth Again (2013). His poetry and nonfiction have been widely published in leading journals and magazines. Also a well-established fly-fishing guide, Dombrowski lives in Missoula, MT.