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Top Guides, Fine Lodging, and Essential Gear for the Lower Laguna Madre

Healing the Fisher King: A Fly Fisher's Grail Quest
by Capt. Scott Sparrow
BlueMantle, 2009
$16.95 paper



In the tradition of A River Runs Through It, the book, Healing the Fisher King: A Fly Fisher's Grail Quest, is the story of one man's journey to the familiar waters of his childhood -- the Lower Laguna Madre of deep south Texas. Lured by a desire to catch a giant spotted seatrout -- but directed by a dream that points to his home waters as the setting for healing and transformation -- Sparrow takes his eight-year-old son on a journey from Virginia to south Texas that proves more difficult than he imagines. He discovers that the unresolved pain in his life -- stemming, in part, from his parents' divorce and now his own -- is also alive in his son.

As they spend the first days fishing together, Sparrow and his son spiral into a dark place that is confusing and disturbing. The author draws upon the legend of the Fisher King and the Holy Grail in order to arrive at a way to address his son's needs, as well as his own. As he begins his fly fishing search for the mysterious fish so aptly named named cynoscion nebulosis -- "starry nebulae" -- he soon discovers that his quest for a great fish mirrors his lifelong yearning for communion with God. He is led throughout by radiant dreams, his knowledge of spiritual traditions, and a willingness to face his own past with ruthless honesty. Against a backdrop largely failed fly fishing experiences, Sparrow makes progress toward understanding his lifelong resistance to living from his heart. This resistance sets the stage for an eventual encounter with death through the agency of a stingray's painful wound. Becoming infected with vibrio vulnificus, a deadly bacteria, he eventually realizes that he has a choice -- to live fully, or to die.

"There's something about life that wants us to give it our all. Dr. Scott Sparrow's heart-expanding book, destined to become a classic among spiritual autobiographies, shows us how both tragedies and miracles arise in life to make sure we fulfill our responsibility to be all we can be." Henry Reed, Ph.D. Author of
Dream Medicine