My brother was an excellent fly-fisherman. He started tying flies when he was 10 years old. It looked too boring to me. But I’ve now read every book by fly-fishing author John Gierach for purposes of learning from and enjoying outstanding writing—as well as to bask in venerable, ex-hippie, rustic, Colorado mountain Americana—and letting Gierach’s life metaphors meticulously gathered from a lifetime of fly-fishing wash over me like a trout stream. I highly recommend his 23 books.

“Mending the Line” is a post-war military story that follows the typical narrative structure of the subgenre. It features the evergreen topics: wartime ethics, how America treats its war veterans, post-traumatic stress disorder, rehab back into civilian life, survivor’s guilt, and more. We’ve all seen these things portrayed a million times, which can lead to fatigue, but “Mending the Line” adds fly-fishing as a panacea to all of the above, and therefore works regardless.

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