Joe and Me

By James Prosek

A story of an unlikely friendship between two men: one old, one young. "Joe and Me" brims with both the enthusiasm of youth and the wisdom of experience. As Joe passes on his affection for nature to his eager young student, James's reflections are, in turn, intimate and expansive, inspirational and full of wonder. 20 color illus.; 6x9 inches, 204 pgs.


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ISBN: 0-06-053784-1

EAN: 978-0-06-053784-5

Binding: Softcover

Publish Date: 01/03/2003

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Every lover of the outdoors will cherish this journal about a young man and the mentor who opens his heart to the spirit of nature -- from the celebrated twenty-two-year-old author of Trout: An Illustrated History.
When James Prosek was just fifteen, a ranger named Joe Haines caught him fishing without a permit in a stream near his home in Connecticut. But instead of taking off into the pouring rain like his fishing buddy, James put down his rod and surrendered. It was a move that would change his life forever. Expecting a small fine and a lecture, James instead received enough knowledge about fishing and the great outdoors to last a lifetime.

The story of this unlikely friendship between two men--one old, one young--Joe and Me is brimming with both the enthusiasm of youth and the wisdom of experience. As Joe passes on his affection for nature to his eager young student, James's reflections are, in turn, intimate and expansive, inspirational and full of wonder.

With twenty rugged and richly colorful illustrations in the style that first brought James critical acclaim, and graceful prose that belies an insightfulness far beyond his years, Joe and Me is a one-of-a-kind journal by a talent The New York Times has dubbed "a fair bid to become the Audubon of the fishing world."

"[Joe and Me is] about what it means to be tried-and-true; about generosity, responsibility, humor, curiosity, appreciation; about having a warm heart and doing the right thing... Prosek describes for us a lost world of sportsfolk--relaxed, comradely, reflective, perceptive--from which he wisely decides to take his cues. " --Kirkus Reviews

"Mr. Prosek makes art of that friendship with Joe Haines in a charming memoir... In it he shows that he can paint with language as simply and refreshingly as he does with watercolors." --New York Times, 7/7/97

"This is a book without writerly tricks. Held in your hand it begins to feel like something from another era: Gentle, solid, uplifting and just a little sentimental... This book is a tribute to the binder's art. It is finely crafted, with an inlay cover and no dust jacket, and illustrated with 20 of Prosek's splendidly evocative paintings. The paper is heavy, thick, as if to acknowledge that fathers will be passing this along to their sons in tribute to a stylized America that always seems on the verge of disappearing." --Los Angeles Times, 6/8/97

"Prosek is a writer at once artful and natural, an original in literature even as he is in painting. Joe and Me incarnates again the values of Mark Twain in Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. Altogether, a beautiful and radiant book, a book for everyone. " --Harold Bloom

James Prosek is the author of Trout and Joe and Me. He is a graduate of Yale and lives in Easton Connecticut. In preparation for his next book, he is currently fishing the 41st parrallel--a trip that will start and end in Easton, and also take him straight around the world

It's not like I had never done it before. In fact, poaching had almost become an art to me. I prided myself on being discreet and having successfully evaded the law for years. The Easton Reservoir, owned by the Bridgeport Hydraulic Company, is just a short walk from my home, and it was where I spent most afternoons fishing. Along with the Aspetuck and Saugatuck reservoirs, Easton was routinely patrolled by wardens whose job it was to keep anyone who was a threat to water quality off the property. That apparently meant anyone who even went near it.
At fifteen, the thought of getting caught breaking the law was both frightening and exhilarating. I was well aware of the danger of fishing illegally, and although I'd never been caught, I had mapped out every possible means of escape. Stone foundations, left from when the water company tore down old houses, would make ideal hiding places. The stone walls that crisscrossed the woods, remnants of farmers' attempts to rid the soil of rocks and keep their cows fenced in, would be good for ducking behind at the last minute. Large sycamores and sugar maples with low branches would be ideal for climbing if I felt that the best way to escape was up. I had found or cut trails in every direction, sought out undercut banks where I could crawl if I was trapped against the water, and even entertained the idea of swimming to the other side of the reservoir or to one of the two small islands in the middle if there was no alternative. But the danger of getting caught was only part of the attraction of fishing where I did. More than the thrill, it was the prospect of catching a large trout that kept me going back, and that same prospect led me from the familiar Easton Reservoir to the Aspetuck, where I found myself one afternoon standing on the lip of the dam, next to my friend Stephen, in the pouring rain.

We had run with our equipment through the woods, our ponchos trailing behind us like great green capes in the heavy April rain. Exposed to the road and bordered by a swamp, the dam was undoubtedly the worst possible place a poacher could find himself. I hesitated before moving into the open, crouching against the wind to tie a lure on my line.

Copyright © 1997 by James Prosek

Additional information

Weight 0.63125 lbs
Dimensions 5.3 × 0.5 × 8 in


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