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Excelling at Chess
Jacob Aagaard
The Art and Craft of Feature Writing: Based on The Wall Street Journal Guide
William E. Blundell

Threatened Species - A novella and five stories

Threatened Species: A Novella and Five Stories - Jeff Vande Zande Threatened Species is a short fiction collection, and while the fly fishing hovers in the background of several stories, these are not fly fishing-centric tales.Instead, most of Threatened Species' tightly-written stories deal with people struggling with loss or change, and while the writing is engaging, it's far removed from the happy trails normally trod by fly fishing writers.In truth, those expecting typical fly fishing fare may find themselves struggling to enjoy this story collection.Threatened Species -- the novella that anchors this collection -- follows a father who has two weeks with his son before his divorced wife moves to Paris (with the son and new husband). They take to the road on a fishing trip, which quickly derails as the father struggles with his son's departure. Thankfully, the author finishes on a hopeful note.The other works are shorter and -- in large part -- grimmer, and it's these stories that account for much of the collection's sharp edges (including a particularly unpleasant image involving a well). Vande Zande's prose is taut and spare, and the cumulative effect of his writing is that of a snare drum; staccato bursts of energy interwoven with characters struggling -- in many instances -- to maintain any semblance of equilibrium.It's wonderful - if sometimes dark - reading.