Saturday, March 02, 2013


Well, I just got through reading the second edition of this remarkable volume, a 2011 publication produced by Jim Wise who calls it a work of "creative nonfiction." CreateSpace independent publishing platform, USA (ISBN 146118004X). 

WHAT CAN I SAY?  This is an unassuming little potboiler about GIANT, RAVENOUS CATFISH of the Flathead, Blue and Channel types living it up in a lake in Tennessee.  Our hero -- a parks & recreation guy named Jim Wilson, in love with an EPA gal named Jessie Johnson -- has had a dread of the water and recurring nightmares ever since a nasty run-in with a Water Moccasin, and he was already prejudiced against OUR WHISKERED SISTERS because his gramps, who used to take him fishing, said they were icky.  So this situation does NOTHING TO SET HIS MIND AT EASE.  One Swimmer, boater and Catfish noodler after another falls afoul of the menace.  The bad old paint-factory owner ignores the warning signs and sets up a floating stage where he's going to hire the Dixie Chicks to perform for every boat moored on the lake. WILL ANYONE SURVIVE?


>> Too much Naked Ape mating ritual.  Not enough Killer Catfish.

>> There is no omniscient narrator in this story, and in scene after scene we 'hear' Jim Wilson's distinctive, folksy voice describing a scene of CATFISH HORROR that we quickly learn he never saw.  In some cases, nobody saw it but the KILLER CATFISH and the screaming Shaved Monkey victim.  This leads me to wonder whether Jim is in denial about his true relationship to the Catfish.  Are they telling him all this and he's kidding himself that he doesn't have a direct pipeline to their knowledge?  Or is it worse than that?  Is he s recruiting operative TOO DAMN DUMB not keep his lips sealed about things he MUST NOT REVEAL?

>> And why would Gramps, a Southerner all his life and an avid fisherman, have ANYTHING against Catfish, for frog's sake?  Catfish are practically sacred down there.  Is there a more secretive and personal reason he is throwing them back when he catches them?  Here's MY theory:  he was recruited by those moustachioed ladies YEARS BEFORE and cannot bring himself to KILL and EAT one.  Maybe his winces of disgust as he takes them off the hook are really signs of EMPATHY for his injured sisters.  Seriously, WHAT OTHER EXPLANATION IS THERE?

>> This book is a good example of why you should not ignore the contribution of a good copyeditor.  Sheesh, this book is a mess!  Even I, a former human travel agent and NOT THE BEST SPELLER, know that "whole" and "hole" are two different words.

You may be sure that I will be looking very seriously into good old Jim Wilson, I mean Jim Wise.  If he is a genuine security leak and not just a bad writer, he will be KILLED.  And EATEN. 



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