Fishing the Jumps - A Novel
Publisher: The University Press of Kentucky
From the author of Romancing Spain, a novel about two fishing buddies and about home, family, and the stories we tell to keep the illusion alive.
In his latest novel, award-winning writer Lamar Herrin highlights the art of storytelling and the value of friendship with a lush, outdoor landscape serving as a backdrop. Set over the course of a weekend spent fishing on an Adirondack lake, two middle-aged friends—Jim McManus and Walter Kidman—sip Jim Beam on the rocks and share stories of memory and camaraderie as the past and present meld to reveal that what happens in the past rarely stays there.
Herrin explores the kaleidoscopic effect of memory while examining the rise and fall of life in the South. Presented is a story about a displaced southerner who tells the account of a family whose fortune was made in the post-World War II apparel industry, but it is the extended family that claims the narrator’s attention and sympathy, the grandparents, the aunts and uncles and cousins, and the stories told and retold about those family members until they reach the status of myth. It is a novel of two lakes—the small glacial one where Jim and Walter fish and exchange stories, and the southern one, created when a dam was built and numerous mountain settlements were flooded. It is a novel chronicling the aftermath of World War II, who won what, and when the time comes, who stands to lose.
Lyrical and poetic yet playful and entertaining, Fishing the Jumps is more than just fishing tales. It is a seamless and haunting novel that is ultimately a story of the deep and necessary relationship between two men and the binding and nourishing effect of family—not only of an extended family, but of a whole community, and in fact, a whole region.
Praise for Fishing the Jumps
“Deliberate and gorgeous, with a mastery of description and a searing command of American culture. Fishing the Jumps is quiet, thoughtfully told, but with a thrashing undercurrent . . . . What seems almost a low-key dialogue on a placid lake is actually a turbulent family history that refuses to sink to the bottom of memory. This makes an elegant structure for a fish story that plumbs the nature of storytelling itself. It is a thrilling, intense novel to read. I was hooked.” —Bobbie Ann Mason, author of Patchwork and The Girl in the Blue Beret
“Herrin’s writing is vivid, lyrical, and intense. But the glory of this novel is Herrin’s gift for recreating a particular time and place, the decades after WWII, the exuberance of summers by the mountain lake, the brilliance of Little Howie Whalen building a textile empire. These characters, and this time, come alive in a way that haunts the reader.” —Robert Morgan, author of Gap Creek
“Lamar Herrin may be the best writer of whom you have never heard . . . there’s no denying that Fishing the Jumps is a work of genius . . . Herrin’s narrative style is seamless, his emotional intelligence expert. . . . [A] bildungsroman, a mystery, and a prose poem, too, in its lush, layered honesty, verbal ingenuity, and elegant humanity.” —Linda Elisabeth LaPinta, Kentucky Humanities