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Comments and Reviews for

The Confluence



"A bright and wonderful read."  


"...a joyful read...the kind of book that makes us realize there is a lot more to fishing than fish." 


"....a book that refuses to be put down"


"I can’t say enough good about the thoroughly entertaining collections of stories..."




"A wonderful concept - a story of friendship, life, and family from seven authors - seven points of view on a life shared by all. I love the backdrop of fishing and the rivers. Beautifully written - these are stories that will stay with the reader
long after the book is finished.

... very entertaining and a tribute to friendship that survives years of change in life and accumulated wisdom. Well written with each voice coming through unique and inspiring." 


            - Comments from 2017 Franklin Book Award reviewers

"This collection of essays, sketches, and tall tales centered on fishing is well worth getting reeled into...   Outdoorsmen (and women), fishing enthusiasts, and fans of nature writing will want to visit this book at will."

           - Trina Carter,  Foreword Reviews

"I read The Confluence with more than a trace of envy because so few of us have the gift of keeping lifelong friends from college.  As the chapters went by, and I saw these  friendships ripen and deepen I realized the book goes beyond one college and one shared backwoods tract. It’s about the very meaning of friendship and young people growing older together.”


            - Mel Allen, Editor, Yankee Magazine



"Any longtime outdoorsman knows how marvelous sporting friendships can be, not least because the sport is vehicle to deeper explorations --comic, tragic, and everything in between. Any writer knows that he or she can never quite adequately express the profundities, but each of these essayists, so different one from the other and so emphatically akin, comes as close as any of us is likely to get. A bright and wonderful read!"


- Sydney Lea, American poet, novelist, essayist, editor, and professor, and the Poet Laureate Emeritus of Vermont



"This land at the summit of New Hampshire is large and wild and very special; so is its evocation in these pages. Instigators Odence and Van Wie and their merry band of friends, with Dartmouth College and friendships formed there at their collective core, write well and, dare it be said, charmingly about their times together in the far American north.


"The passage of the human seasons is as evident in these reminiscences as it always is along the Dead Diamond River. The memories differ (as memories do), and that's all to the good. The inspirations differ too, from Corey Ford and Norman Maclean and E.B. White to Edward Hoagland and Henry David Thoreau to Moe, Larry and Curly. It is the book's blessing that Van Wie is a fine photographer with a poetic eye, while Odence and Chamberlin are his equals in illustration. The Second College Grant, a realm of rippling waters and pointed firs, can be a cold place at any time of the year. This, however, is a constantly warm, regularly moving reflection."


-Robert Sullivan, author of Flight of the Reindeer and A Child's Christmas in New England, January 2016



"Camaraderie pervades The Confluence: warmth, humor, touches of pathos, a shared love of fish and flies, special waters, also art and literature… a collection of stories, essays and art compounded and distilled by seven literate friends, aging together like a bourbon drawn from a clean stream, suffused with wood smoke, and then passed among friends in a New Hampshire trout-cabin salon.  Steadily engaging, often surprising, the prose here is polished but blessedly unpretentious…"


-Seth Norman, noted fishing author, Fly Rod & Reel contributing editor, Robert Traver Award winner, and Pulitzer Prize nominee

"You won't be bored"    - Jeremiah Wood, Outdoor Sporting Library


"Much has been spoken and written of the impact of the North Country on one's maturation, development, education and the role it can and does play in bonding and friendship. I know more than a bit about it because I have had the privilege of its benefits. This volume describes and underscores those things beautifully on nearly every page. As one who has been the beneficiary of those life lessons, I wholeheartedly recommend this book to young and old."


-Ralph N. Manuel, PhD, seventh Dean of Dartmouth College



“To paraphrase Henry David Thoreau, many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not the fish they are after. This fine collection of stories created around memories spawned in the clear cold waters of a very special part of the great north woods, wonderfully illustrates the essence of what Thoreau’s sentiments mean to all who truly appreciate their time on the water.”  


-Bill Pierce, Outdoor Sporting Heritage Museum



"All those of us who love the outdoors have special 'spirit places' where invisible forces flow strongly. For many Dartmouth graduates, the Second College Grant, with its two rivers, the Dead and Swift Diamond, is one of those places. The Confluence sings not only the beauty of these wild river valleys and their natural denizens, but also of a group of college pals, now aging into middle years, who, like the rivers, come together to celebrate the beauties of both wild brook trout and lifelong friendship."


-Willem Lange, author, master story teller, public radio and television host and commentator


"Fishing is one of the wonderful reasons we have to get outside and enjoy nature. It is also a wonderful reason to get to spend time with friends - especially the best kind of friends: those who share a passion with us. The 'confluence' that happens when fishing becomes both the vehicle for going outside and for seeing friends whom may not be near us on a daily basis is a thing of wonder and beautiful to read about. 


"The Confluence is a joyful read. It brings together stories that span a couple of decades of fishing experiences shared by a committed group of friends. It is the kind of book that makes us realize there is a lot more to fishing than fish."


-Daniel W. Galhardo, Tenkara USA founder and CEO



"Robert Louis Stevenson said that as travelers in the wilderness of this world the best we can find in our travels is an honest friend, or, as the authors of The Confluence suggest, an honest group of friends. From my work with men and my research on their friendships, I was impressed with how drawn in I was to the rituals of their outings, the roles and activities they’d recreated each year that bonded the Boys together.


"At one point, I even imagined myself fly-fishing. Now that’s quite a stretch for a land-based outdoors guy like me. Coleridge once described art as the willing suspension of disbelief.  No doubt I’d been hooked."


-Rob Garfield, MD. Author of Breaking the Male Code: Unlocking the Power of Friendship



I’m struck with a sense of awe to read the stories of these friends who fished in New Hampshire’s greatest wild rivers. They inspire me to get out, grab a fishing rod and some friends, and just get to know some beautiful rivers. I can’t help but think if every young person had this sort of appreciation for fishing and healthy, fish-filled rivers, we’d all be better off for it. As I try to figure out what’s important to my life, I know one things for certain: I want to have a group of friends like those who wrote The Confluence and I want to visit a beautiful natural place with them, again and again, to remind myself what in this life in worthwhile.”


-Cedar Farwell, President of Dartmouth Outing Club, Dartmouth Class of 2017



"The Dartmouth Grant is one of those wild, overlooked places Thoreau must have had in mind when he wrote that we had 'advanced by leaps to the Pacific but left many a lesser Oregon and California unexplored behind us.' The Confluence, which I read in one sitting, shows how this splendid remnant of the original New England wilderness, with its rugged mountains, big woods, icy rivers and tropically-colored brook trout, has shaped the outdoor experiences and nurtured the friendships of those who know and love it.  The Grant is truly one of our great natural treasures."


-Howard Frank Mosher, author of eleven novels and winner of the New England Independent Booksellers President's Award



"Plan your evening wisely, The Confluence is a book that refuses to be put down.  Sustaining friendships over time requires glue. With elegance, grace, and good humor, the authors make a compelling case for fly fishing being one such form of glue. Space on my bookshelves is jealously guarded, but room will be made for The Confluence."


-Graydon Hilyard, Author of Carrie Stevens, Maker of Rangeley Favorite Trout and Salmon Flies



"The title says it all. The Confluence is a delightful flowing together of stories (some 'stretchers'), life-histories, friendships, fly fishing, and annual pilgrimages to a 27,000-acre tract of woodland that has been largely undeveloped  since it was granted to Dartmouth College over 200 years ago.  If we’re lucky in our lives and in our friends, we have places and people evoking in us the same sense of place and connection expressed by one of the authors:  'There is no place else I would rather be than standing in a river with these guys here in the Dartmouth Grant.'"


-Dan Nelson, Director, Outdoor Programs, Dartmouth College



"I can’t say enough good about the thoroughly entertaining collections of stories that make up The Confluence. Suffice it to say this is so much more than a collection of fishing stories. It is a revealing look at friends fishing that span nearly a quarter century.


"Each chapter has its own unique point of view and gives the reader a charming glimpse of times afield thoroughly enjoyed. I’ll let you discover the gems and jewels contained in its pages and not spoil the fun. But it delivers something for the novice, the adventurous and the accomplished angler alike.


"If you know in your soul that fishing with friends is one of the great joys of fishing and that the experience is enhanced by wild places, then don’t miss the chance to add this book to your library."


-Tom Sadler, outdoor writer, columnist and blogger; fly-fishing guide and tenkara aficionado



"The Confluence is appealing on many levels. It is ostensibly about high-quality brook trout fishing in the far northern wilderness of New Hampshire with all it entails, from cold outhouse seats to lost dogs to lost people. It is more. It is, in some sense, the story of enduring friendship, starting at Dartmouth College in the late 1970s and persisting year-after-year for decades. About getting together annually no matter what. About drinking beer all day while fishing. About great conversation at night. About life without phones or the internet or indoor plumbing. Those who love fly fishing will love this book, but it is much more a moving story about great friendship over a lifetime."


-William Goodspeed, author of Buzz Kill



"After reading only the first few pages of The Confluence, I was swept downstream in the Diamond River and experienced the pleasures of the braided current of short essays by a group of the Dartmouth friends. I quickly felt the comfort and comradery of their friendship and felt as if I was included as one of them.  Like The Witch of Coos in the Robert Frost poem at the end of the book, these fellows are sharing their long held secret in the memories and descriptions of a place that they have found where they have learned to live in the moment.  The book transcends the Second Dartmouth Grant and captures the essence of any annual pilgrimage by a group of dear friends to a secluded place. Nice work, Boys!"


- Evelyn King, Maine Guide and FFF Casting Instructor



“This book is much more than a collection of fishing stories told by a bunch of guys with ties to Dartmouth, although there is plenty of that. It’s a celebration of life and friendship, of learning to support one another in times of joy and difficulty, and, last but not least, of enjoying nature and forging bonds that withstand the test of time.”


-Marcelo Gleiser, Appleton Professor of Natural Philosophy at Dartmouth, author of The Island of Knowledge and the forthcoming The Simple Beauty of the Unexpected: A Natural Philosopher in Search of Trout and the Meaning of Everything



“In this series of thoughtful and often wry essays, poems and artwork, David Van Wie and his Dartmouth “Boys” show how the two rivers flowing through their alma mater’s land — the Dead Diamond and Swift - have bound this band of brothers.”


-Bob Romano, author of Shadows in the Stream and the Rangeley Lakes series of fly fishing novels.



"This is a wonderful book about fishing—and like all wonderful books about fishing, the fishing both matters and doesn’t. A bunch of college friends record their annual trip into the New Hampshire woods in appealing short essays with beautiful photographs and drawings. But it isn’t a 'how-to-fish' book, rather it is a 'how-to-live' book. What it really does is to remind us, in our world of always too much information and noise, of the need to pay attention, and demonstrate that, as Simone Weil said, attention is a form of prayer."


- David Scott Kastan, George M. Bodman Professor of English, Yale University



"A great romp in the woods. A splash big enough to deepen friendships, enliven the uninitiated  and frighten healthy wild trout in a quiet stream."


- Spencer Beebe, co-founder of Conservancy Internationale and Ecotrust, recipient of the Audubon Society Lufkin Prize for Environmental Leadership



"I heartily recommend this book. It’s not just about the Dartmouth College Grant, or Dartmouth, or even about fly fishing. It’s about life—relationships, memories, shared experiences. 


"I first saw Dartmouth College when I was a young boy and from that moment on that was the only place I wanted to go to college. I first saw the Dartmouth College Grant when I was an undergraduate and that memory still beats within. Both are now a part of me and will be so until my last day. Even if you never visit the Grant, this book will resonate about your past, your life, and the importance of family and friends—how our shared heritage determines who we become as people. The Confluence is really a metaphor about connecting the past with the promise of the future. Read this book. It will change you."


- Mark Connolly, 2016 New Hampshire Gubernatorial Candidate



"Fly fishing is known as a melting pot sport-uniting people from all backgrounds. The Confluence is a collection of stories from members of the Dartmouth graduating class of 1979 who couldn’t be more different from one another. However, they share one common thread-to travel back every year to Dartmouth Grant for several days to talk about college days, life, business, family, and also with the hopes spending some time fly fishing. The water that flows through this property and the native trout it holds is one reason this group convenes annually. And this book is an entertaining summary of the events that have unfolded during this annual gathering-all because of a trout stream"  


George Daniel, Fly-fishing Guide and author of Strip-Set



"Read a chapter or two of the Confluence when you have a free moment. You will certainly find a lot to like in this collection of stories and reflections, especially if you have a connection to Dartmouth, have visited the Dartmouth Grant, or just enjoy fly-fishing a favorite remote stream. Moreover, this book will resonate with anyone who appreciates the camaraderie that develops among good friends who get together year after year and, to their credit, decade after decade."


- Lou Zambello, author of Flyfishing Northern New England’s Seasons

  • New England Book Festival 2016 - Honorable Mention - Wild Card

Links to Full Reviews

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