Is there fishing in heaven? If William Vande Kopple, professor of English at Calvin College, has anything to say about it, heaven will be an angler's paradise.
In 20 diverse essays on the fishing life, Vande Kopple takes nostalgic looks at the role fishing played in his childhood, the way it has tied generations of his family together, and his own inner conflicts about the guilty pleasures of fishing on the Sabbath. Like a fisherman who likes to embellish his tales, Vande Kopple confesses that although the stories are factually based and somewhat autobiographical, they are primarily fiction.
The second half of the book contains some of the best essays, with conflicts among three generations healed through fishing. In "Through the Ice," Vande Kopple's son is unable to face his grandpa's failing health; the fishing they shared continues to connect the two. "Still Fishing" is a lovely vignette of three generations still striving to understand each other—through angling for the big one that got away.
Vande Kopple's detailed descriptions of rigging should appeal to fishermen, and general readers will find a plentiful catch of poignancy and nostalgia.
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The Catch: Families, Fishing, and Faith is available from Christianbook.com and other book retailers.
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More about William Vande Kopple is available from his page at Calvin College.1
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