With the recent selection of Frank Parker Day's 1928 novelRockboundas CBC's 2005 "Canada Reads" winner, interest in the life and work of Day has never been greater. In 1927, Day wrote his autobiographical reflections on fishing, family, and, more broadly, humanity's place in the natural world.The Autobiography of a Fishermanis a wonderful recollection of one man's life, with characters struggling in a depressed economy, contending with the social pressures of local village life, and responding in one way or the other to the pull of the big city.
Day details his early introduction to fishing, which becomes a life-long passion, at once a 'gentle art' and a 'disease'. Studying at Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship ('it was easier to get one in those days'), his fervour for fishing is shared by many, but while at the University of Berlin studyingBeowulf, he laments that he 'did no trout fishing.'
Eventually, Day returns to Canada and is hired as an English professor at the University of New Brunswick, knowing it to be 'the centre of a well-watered district.' The reader sees him through his final episode of fishing with his father before his father dies, as well as the First World War, during which time he 'never wet a line', and beyond, as he marries, builds a family, and continues to fish. Day's reflections suggest the restorative powers of the environment and should appeal to even those readers who have never thought to sit quietly by the side of a stream, line in hand, waiting.
Subjects: Language & Literature
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