With his third novel, Craig Lesley comes into his own as an important American writer. Combining the familial loyalties and betrayals of Norman Maclean's A River Runs Through It with the dead-on perfect ear for western dialect and local ritual of Thomas McGuane's Northing but Blue Skies, he presents a story that is both fresh and powerful. Laced with the solace of the great outdoors and the spirituality of the Indians on the local reservation, The Sky Fisherman is set in a small town in the Northwest, where the interwoven currents of love, death, and a boy's coming of age flow swiftly below a surface life of hard work and confrontation with the forces of nature. The boy, Culver, his twice-married mother, and his charismatic uncle Jake are shadowed by the death of Culver's father in a fishing accident. When a suspicious fire destroys the town mill and three murders occur, Culver's world is engulfed by the dangers swirling around him.
Mr. Lesley has a habit of inscribing this book "I hope this honors the rural, small-town West." I think it does.
It's a story that starts small, in the details of a working-class life lived close to the bone, and
Sorry this review isn't any better: forgot to write it when the book was fresh in my mind. But I did keep the book, which means I thought it worth something.