Should the Tent Be Burning Like That? gathers together a wide range of Heavey’s best work. He nearly drowns attempting to fish the pond inside the cloverleaf off an Interstate Highway four miles from the White House. He rents and crashes a forty-four-foot houseboat on a river in Florida. On a manic weeklong deer archery hunt in Ohio, he finds it necessary to practice by shooting arrows into his motel room’s phonebook (the blunt penetrates all the way to page 358, "KITCHEN CABINET—REFACING & REFINISHING"). Accompanying a shaggy steelhead fanatic—Mikey, who has no job or fixed address but owns four boats—on a thousand-mile odyssey up and down the California coast in search of fishable water, he comes to see Mikey as a purer soul than almost anyone he has ever met.
Whatever the subject, Heavey’s tales are odes to the notion that enthusiasm is more important than skill, and a testament to the enduring power of the natural world. Whether he’s hunting mule deer in Montana, draining cash on an overpriced pistol, or ruminating on the joys and agonies of outdoor gear, Heavey always entertains and enlightens with honesty and wit.
Praise forShould the Tent Be Burning Like That?:
“Readers don’t have to hunt or fish to appreciate Mr. Heavey’s essays, which . . . are more complicated than they first appear. The title of his book evokes the knee-slapping comedy of the campfire, a promise that his peculiar brand of farce frequently fulfills. But he also displays a gift for the sublime.”—Danny Heitman,Wall Street Journal
“The traditional hook-and-bullet story involves an angler or a hunter, a measure of expertise, and the pursuit of fish or game. By story's end the author is usually describing landed fish or downed prey, and has rewarded readers along the way with field tips and knowledge. Bill Heavey takes a different approach, dispensing with the expertise and instead rewarding readers with madcap storytelling, laughter, commiserative cringing, but most of all a manic and contagious enthusiasm.Should the Tent Be Burning Like That? A Professional Amateur’s Guide to the Outdoors is Heavey’s latest miscellany, gathering many of his columns fromField & Stream, and whether crashing a houseboat in Florida or salving a bout of melancholy with some worm fishing, Heavey is absurdly great company throughout."—Garden & Gun
“This new book is a collection of the best columns Bill has done forField & Stream (and a few other publications) in the last few years, which is to say that it’s as good as anything anyone has written in any publication about anything. Give the Devil his due; Bill Heavey has a way with words . . . [He] inhabits a world [that] consists of animals and fish that are much better at surviving than he is at killing them; hostile, malfunctioning inanimate objects; incomprehensible written directions; doe pee that refuses to stay bottled; human folly, rain, sleet, wind, bad luck, no luck at all and, because he is now in his 60s, when your friends start dying in earnest, sorrow, pain, and loss. The secret to Bill’s success was laid bare at a speech he gave . . . to a club comprised of hypercompetitive hunters and fishermen in their 30s and 40s and 50s, all of whom are very successful in life and in their chosen sports . . . They loved him because all of them, who compete against fellow club members, and themselves, and game animals and fish, and Nature, had been defeated time and time again, sometimes ignominiously. And they persist, as does Bill. That is a Great Truth, and is the theme that runs through this book. As Hugh Glass said inThe Revenant, “As long as you can pull a breath, you fight.” I trust Mr. Heavey will continue to milk it for all it’s worth.”—David E. Petzal, “The Gun Nuts,”Field & Stream
“As a writer forField and Stream, Bill Heavey has been able to connect with hunters, anglers and those who appreciate the great outdoors by sharing an honest perspective of his experiences. In an industry fueled by ego, Heavy’s writing style is far less serious, and focused on sharing his very own brand of comical failures with his readers.”—Outdoor Hub, “5 Reading Picks for the Hunter/Angler/Hiker/Camper”
“Long-time outdoor magazine columnist Bill Heavey’s latest collection of tales,Should the Tent be Burning Like That, will have you laughing and learning into the wee hours [with] humor and practical advice on fatherhood and parenting, deer urine, yardwork, chasing steelheads, literature, mystical turkeys, friendship, surf casting and helplessly falling in love . . . Your indoors outdoorsman will keep it on his bedstand for a long, long, time.”—C.F. Foster,Florida Times Union
Praise forYou’re Not Lost if You Can Still See the Truck:
“Bill Heavey is one of the best magazine writers in America. No, he doesn’t work for theNew Yorker. He writes forField & Stream, the popular journal for hunters and fishermen. Outdoor writing has a dim reputation as a soapbox for braggarts who crow about hooking a monster marlin or bagging a 24-point deer. But Mr. Heavey will have none of that . . . Not since Jack London’s stories has the stark danger of freezing lived so largely on the page . . . As the tongue-in-cheek title of Mr. Heavey’s collection suggests, this isn’t always or even usually a serious book. Think Erma Bombeck in camo gear, and you’ll getthe sensibility of many of these pieces.”—Wall Street Journal
“A reader doesn’t have to hunt or fish to appreciate Heavey’s gift for storytelling . . . The best essays, here, in fact, are heartbreakingly tender . . . This is a hard book to classify, and that’s its biggest strength.”—Christian Science Monitor (“10 excellent books you might have missed in 2014”)
“Remarkably engaging and often hilarious . . . Even those who have never baited a hook, assembled a tree stand, or sat in a duck blind will quickly find themselves drawn into Heavey’s world with colorful—and occasionally dangerous—accounts of outdoor life.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“To the list of greatField & Stream essayists . . . add the name Bill Heavey. His writing is funny, poignant, acerbic, and best of all, always alert to the absurdities of life.”—Patrick C. McManus
“Bill Heavey is the man who put the ‘lure’ in failure. He’s my kind of fisherman, deer hunter, and wing shot. Which is to say the, um, very amateur kind. But who wants to hear about some braggart’s cast and blast triumphs when you can hear about Bill catching a 14-inch largemouth bass on a pink Shakespeare Ladies’ Spincast Combo? Even I have never done that. At least not sober.”—P. J. O’Rourke
“I’ve read Bill Heavey’s page since the earliest days of my career. He’s one of my all-time favorite writers. He’s funny, fearless and always up for anything. If he could fish as well as he writes, I’d be in trouble. Fortunately, he can’t.”—Kevin VanDam, winningest professional bass angler of all time
“[Heavey’s] self-deprecating tales make us laugh . . . [He] writes about the good times as well as the demons of his outdoor life. Some chapters are for soul-searching, not just fun and games.”—Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Humorous and thought-provoking essays on what it means to be an outdoorsman . . . Readers will sense that it’s possible to fail at your mission and still have a grand time if you don’t take yourself too seriously.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Bill Heavey isn’t just one of my favorite writers, though he is. He’s also one of my heroes, proof that you can make an adult living by being witty, insightful and spending an awful lot of time outdoors. That’s the dream, and it’s chronicled in this book. Buy three copies.”—Tucker Carlson
“If you think of Bill Heavey as ‘just’ a humorist, you'll be selling him short, but it’s his intelligent, unforced humor that hits you first and stays with you the longest.”—John Gierach, author ofAt the Grave of the Unknown Fisherman andAll Fishermen Are Liars
“Bill Heavey is James Thurber in camouflage overalls, an unrelenting geyser of slapstick comedy and serrated wit. If he doesn’t make you laugh, consult a coroner.”—Jonathan Miles, author ofDear American Airlines
“Heavey examines an eclectic variety of topics, from hunting to fishing to relationships and even life’s more profound mysteries. His perspective is that of a devoted, if not always expert, outdoorsman. If in doubt, he makes fun of himself . . . Fellow outdoorspeople are the target audience, but the overall quality of the writing may draw even stay-at-homes.”—Booklist
“Bill Heavey has become famous as America’s everyman outdoorsman, unafraid to draw attention to his many and varied failures—from sporting French lavender deodorant to scaring a UPS man half to death while bowhunting in his front yard.”—DL-Online
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