Casting into Mystery celebrates the meditative sport of fly fishing, rejoicing in the camaraderie and quietude to be found not only in the gentle flow of river currents, but also in the community and culture of anglers past and present.
Robert Reid is a writer, journalist, and avid angler whose career in journalism spanned forty years. Reid got his start writing for newspapers in Strathroy, St. Thomas, Timmins and Simcoe before he landed a position covering arts at the Brantford Expositor, and later, the Waterloo Region Record. He reported on a wide range of cultural activities from London to Hamilton to Toronto, and served as a lecturer, literary judge and arts commentator, as well as a writer, interviewer and associate producer on a couple of syndicated arts programs produced for television. He was the first non-fiction writer to be appointed Writer-in-Residence at the University of Waterloo. Since his retirement, Reid has continued to write about his passions-art and culture, malt whisky, dining and travel, and especially fly fishing-on his website at www.reidbetweenthelines.ca.
Wesley W. Bates was born in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. One of Canada's best-known wood engravers, Bates has ventured into book illustration (W. O. Mitchell's The Black Bonspiel of Willie MacCrimmon), film (Look and See: A Portrait of Wendell Berry), commercial art (the voyageur motif for Upper Canada Brewery), letterpress publishing (through his West Meadow Press) and acoustic country-played, naturally, on a bouzouki. A collection of his engravings, The Point of the Graver, was published to great acclaim in 1994. A retrospective of his engravings In Black and White was published by Bird & Bull in 2005, with a revised edition published by Gaspereau Press in 2008. He now maintains his studio, which is open to the public, in a nineteenth-century storefront on the main street of Clifford, Ontario.
This is a very elegant book. Reid's reflections on the history, the poetry and the mystery of fishing weave together with Bates's engravings to create magical moments on the river. Bright waters meet in these lines.- Dan Needles, Canadian playwright and author of Stephen Leacock medal-winning With Axe and Flask
`Author Robert Reid is not only an accomplished writer, but his artistry with words transforms Casting into Mystery into an enlightening spiritual journey exploring the essence of the outdoor experience through the soul of a fly angler. While paying homage to the past, his stories and essays weave angling literature, nature art, historical perspective, philosophical musings, love of bamboo, and abiding friendship into a unique literary expression of reverence for the mysteries of the natural world, particularly as it pertains to the contemplative pursuit of angling with a fly. Accented by the beautifully crafted visual art of accomplished engraver Wesley Bates, Casting into Mystery is destined to become a classic addition to the enduring tradition of fly fishing literature.'- Jerry Kustich, cofounder of Sweetgrass Rods and author of Holy Water
`Robert Reid and Wesley Bates have given us a beautiful and refreshing gift, a book where word and image join to form a vibrant reality that is shot through with mystery and meaning. Reid's personal stories, accounts of local history, and curious dives into literature, music, and film are illuminated by Bates's intricate engravings, images that awaken realities both seen and unseen. This book taps into an ancient metaphysical current, a deep place, where lurking questions about the sacred, time, and mortality will surface and strike again as new.'- Chad Wriglesworth, St. Jerome's University, author of Distant Neighbors: The Selected Letters of Wendell Berry and Gary Snyder
Having read Casting into Mystery, written by Robert Reid with engravings by Wesley W. Bates, I understand better than ever the allure and magic that lies waiting for the dedicated angler. I know better the connection with, and the reverence for, trout. The deep connection with rivers and the delicate ecosystems that support not only fish, but every living thing an angler encounters during a day on the water. The zip and ratchet of the reel as the line runs through it. The graceful curve as the line arcs, flashes and snaps through the air. The waiting, the watching, the gentle tug telegraphing along the filament as the fish makes up its mind. The setting of the hook and the sudden living bond with the yet unseen fish that is frantically spooling out yards of line as he makes his bid for freedom. The camaraderie between brothers and sisters who share a passion. The tall tales in fire-lit cabins. The grateful taste of a rare single malt that warms toes nearly frozen from a day in the river. It's all here.- Garnet Rogers, Juno Award-winning singer/songwriter
Casting into Mystery is a memoir that is hard to categorize. Part autobiography, part history, part social commentary. However you define it, it is beautifully written and beautifuly engraved. And-forgive the pun-it lures you in. With fly fishing as the armature of its structure, it references literature, contemporary culture, music and more. With its tales of friendship and family, a reader feels like she is conversing with an old friend. Early on, Robert Reid decribes Casting into Mystery asÂ `highly personal, maybe even eccentric'. And that is exactly what he delivers: a memoir that is sure to appeal to diverse readers, including those who have never stepped into a river and cast a fly. After reading this book, they may well decide to do so.- Virginia Eichhorn, Executive Director of the Quest Art School & Gallery
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