Many Yates' aficionado's don't rate Falling in Again, claiming it isn't up to the quality of some of his earlier works. I for one don't wholly agree with these sentiments. Yes, Yates exploded onto the literary angling scene with the seminal Casting at the Sun and Falling in Again certainly doesn't compare with THAT great work. However, it shouldn't be overlooked. Its pairs of short stories, each on a separate theme have great charm and reek of Yates's evocative touch. Perhaps it is this somewhat randomness of themes that has attracted it's critics. However this is a book that is to be treated as an hors d'oeuvre, and appetiser, a smorgasbord. Something to snack on, to be consumed a little at a time. To be enjoyed just for the taste of it! Too much at one time though and like just feasting on your starter one may be left feeling slightly unsatisfied. As such then, it makes for the ideal bed-side book (or perhaps bog-side book!). Read a couple of chapters at a time and savour each one. And if you've never read any Chris Yates before you could do a lot worse than begin here. I think it makes for an ideal introduction to the great man's works.
From The Unexpected Pike: "On the bank it looked almost more impressive than it had done under the bridge. A huge looking, beautifully marked fish that seemed as long as me. Out of his element though it had lost its malevolence.
We could touch it without fear. Of course we couldn't weigh it properly: it must have been about 15lb, but our spring balance couldn't cope with anything so spectacular. And our 12-inch 'Fisherman's Ruler' looked absurd next to it. Luckily, the shank of the hook was protruding from the forest of teeth, though the unhooking still had the crisis atmosphere of a bomb disposal exercise."
If Falling in Again is a starter then The Deepening Pool is the main course.
A book to be consumed greedily, one that CAN be devoured in one sitting, preferably with a good beer or a fine wine to hand (or if you prefer a mug of tea!). It makes for a hugely satisfying feast! As a book, it could have been titled "What I did After I Caught THAT Carp" (Which was go angling for barbel) and tells of CY's re-discovery of the joys of the river, in particular the Hampshire Avon. Barbel feature heavily but this mustn't be regarded as a 'single species' book nor equally a single river one.
The first time I started to read The Deepening Pool was on a rainy Sunday lunchtime. Wind howled through the eaves and my local river - The Kennet was suffering the first floods of the autumn. All this was soon forgotten as I entered Yates's magical world. When I next looked up it was getting dark and a whole afternoon had passed by in a dream and the book was nearly finished.
(It has been re-read at a more leisurely pace many times since). Yates's descriptive prose takes you to the river bank in an instant, and certainly there are times as you read when you feel like you're actually there, standing next to him. If, like me, you love to fish running water then this book is probably already in your collection. If it isn't well, I don't need to tell you what to do!!
From Henry's Barbel (on seeing HIS first barbel): "The rod was still in a half-circle but it began to un-curve by degrees and then suddenly, there it was, just below the surface in mid-river - that absolutely distinctive, elegant shape which was unquestionably a barbel. The sun gleamed on the amber flank and for a moment I was locked in amazement. It was not that it was a huge fish; on the contrary. But I had not seen the like of it before and its appearance had a profound effect, a bit like the time I saw my first carp, when I was five. It gave me a curious feeling of vertigo."
Falling in Again is still in print (Merlin Unwin Books 17.99) - Click here to check the best price for this book on Amazon.
The Deepening Pool can be had from many second hand dealers (or e-bay) expect to pay 35 -40 for a book in good condition.