But in fishing the jumps there comes a moment when an insatiable hunger rises up in you and everything turns wild."
The term "fishing the jumps" speaks to a method of catching fish while they're in the midst of a wild, frenzied state. And just like the undercurrents that exist in the lakes on which this tale is based, some relationships have a way of hiding—and revealing—turmoil just beneath the surface.
In his latest novel, award-winning writer Lamar Herrin highlights the art of storytelling and the value of friendship with a lush, outdoor landscape serving as a backdrop. Set over the course of a weekend spent fishing on an Adirondack lake, two middle-aged friends—Jim McManus and Walter Kidman—sip Jim Beam on the rocks and share tales of memory and camaraderie as the past and present meld to reveal that what happens in the past rarely stays there.
Lyrical and poetic, playful and entertaining, Fishing the Jumps is more than just fishing tales. It is a seamless and haunting novel that is ultimately a story of the deep and necessary relationship between two men and the binding and nourishing effect of family—not only of an extended family, but of a whole community, and in fact, a whole region.
"Herrin's writing is vivid, lyrical, and intense. But the glory of this novel is Herrin's gift for recreating a particular time and place, the decades after WWII, the exuberance of summers by the mountain lake, the brilliance of Little Howie Whalen building a textile empire. These characters, and this time, come alive in a way that haunts the reader."~Robert Morgan, author of Gap Creek
"This is a wonderful novel! Herrin's writing is beautifully expressed, perceptive, emotionally subtle, and at times cunningly enigmatic. Every time I read him, I am struck anew that, purely as a writer—an artist using words—he's one of the very best we have."~Brian Hall, author of I Should Be Extremely Happy in Your Company: A Novel of Lewis and Clark
"Lamar Herrin's Fishing the Jumps is surely unique as a novel. Told mostly in the vividly reminiscent voice of Jim, it flows outward, inward, and round about as it chronicles the stories of the Pritchards and Whalens, the Coggins and even the toad, Oldham. Seemingly leisurely, the narrative is insistent, ruefully ironic, and utterly absorbing. When I finished reading, I felt a little lonesome; the story and I had become close friends."~Fred Chappell, former poet laurete of North Carolina and author of A Way of Happening: Observations of Contemporary Poetry
"An accomplished storyteller with a hypnotic voice that draws you in and carries you along."~Matt Ruff, author of Lovecraft Country
Lamar Herrin's novel is deliberate and gorgeous, with a mastery of description and a searing command of American culture. Fishing the Jumps is quiet, thoughtfully told, but with a thrashing undercurrent, like the turmoil of some largemouth bass about to break into a feeding frenzy—"the jumps." This is literally the tension of the story, its powerful force. What seems almost a low-key dialogue on a placid lake is actually a turbulent family history that refuses to sink to the bottom of memory. This makes an elegant structure for a fish story that plumbs the nature of storytelling itself. It is a thrilling, intense novel to read. I was hooked.~Bobbie Ann Mason, author of Patchwork and The Girl in the Blue Beret: A Novel
"Herrin's lyrical style paints a vivid picture of his characters' surroundings as he describes a lonely loon calling out over the lank, the crescent moon's sliver of light glinting off the water or a neighbor's nightly 5 o'clock cello concert from a nearby dock. Readers almost hear the lap of the water and feel as though they've been invited to pull up a chair, listen in on the conversation and savor every moment."~Penny Woods, Kentucky Living, October 2019
"Lamar Herrin may be the best writer of whom you have never heard... there's no denying that Fishing the Jumps is a work of genius... Herrin's narrative style is seamless, his emotional intelligence expert.... [A] bildungsroman, a mystery, and a prose poem, too, in its lush, layered honesty, verbal ingenuity, and elegant humanity."~Linda Elisabeth LaPinta, Kentucky Humanities
One should not read Lamar Herrin's Fishing the Jumps in a single sitting. Though slim and inviting, the novel requires a patient reader—one who can appreciate Herrin's careful attention to the art of storytelling... The novel's frame emphasizes the performative nature of good storytelling.~Journal of Appalachian Studies