BY JOHN BODEN
Having been a fan of Langan's work for some time, I was quite excited at the promise of getting to read and review his newest novel, The Fisherman. I tried to read as little as possible on it so that I could go in somewhat blind, but I did hear some descriptors that, upon completion, now seem quite adequate. Words like epic and literary. These are both accurate and understatement. I'm not sure I can put into words the level in which this book works, just that it does and it has a resonating power that will ring in your mind and ears long after you've put it down.
Abe is a man who lost everything when his wife died. And he slowly and not easily begins to fill the little and larger voids with fishing and recollection. One day, he meets a co-worker named Dan, a man who has recently had his own run in with tragedy and loss and is teetering on the rocky ledge of despair and grief. Abe takes him, fishing and the men begin a friendship. One day, Dan suggests they go fishing at a spot known as Dutchman's Creek. It is here where we shift our story gears a tad. The Fisherman is a tale within a tale.
When the pair stop at a diner and ask the manager about the creek (they can't find it on the map) the man spins a yarn that rakes up a huge portion of the book. It concerns the long history of the area and the creek. The dark and otherworldly things that occurred there. A mysterious man who arrives in the night and systematically brings a small village to its knees through the terror and horror of his deeds. The dead don't stay that way. There are things in the water. There are strange stenches and portents.
I could explain further, but that would dearly rob you of the enjoyment of reading this wonderful work. It is a literary and classically written tome that reads quickly and easily given the depth of subject and historical chapters. It is honest and emotionally packed. It sets the hooks and pulls you along, bumping into the rocky bottom a time or two, almost letting you get to the surface for a quick breath before pulling you under again.
A fantastic book, one of the best I've had the pleasure of reading this year.
The Fisherman is available from the folks at Word Horde.