Matthew Dickerson takes his readers from an Applachian trout stream in western North Carolina where wild trout are reduced to sipping cigarette butts, up through his home state of Vermont where development and the ski industry threaten the state's iconic pastoral riversides, and finally into western Maine to a once dead river that has returned to life. The tale takes us not only to the three eponymous rivers, but to other nearby streams and waters. Though neither an historical nor as scientific text, the writing is informed by both, and as readers are drawn through the tale, they will grow in their own understanding of both stream ecology and the history of human habitation and consumption. The book is illustrated by original prints from Vermont artist Courtney Allenson.
About the Author
Matthew T. Dickerson is an author, a professor at Middlebury College in Vermont, a scholar of the writings of J. R. R. Tolkien and the fantastic fiction of C.S.Lewis, and an environmental journalist and outdoor writer. His books include works of fiction, biography, philosophy, and scholarship (including eco-critical work) on fantasy and mythopoeic literature. Dickerson received his A.B. from Dartmouth College (1985) and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Cornell University (1989)—where he also did graduate work in Old English language and literature. Since 2002 Dickerson has been the director of the New England Young Writers Conference, an annual four-day conference for high school students in Bread Loaf, Vermont, that is associated with Middlebury College.
“The writer believes his biggest challenge was creating an informed narrative that engages a broad audience—not just fly fishers and fans of nature writing, but anyone who appreciates compelling writing. His objectives included entertaining readers with his stories and scenes, raising awareness and concern about the fragility of environments ... and the ecological consequences of human actions, and motivating more environmentally responsible individual and societal decision-making.” —Addison Independent (Middlebury, VT)
“While the message is subtle, it does come through that a trout is a trout is a trout. Equally, it comes through that a stream is a stream is a stream, and we humans must treat them with care and respect if we expect them to provide the beauty, thrills and deep joy of which they are capable. This is a good read...” —from Outdoor Guide Magazine
“Critical Praise for Dickerson's Trout in the Desert (Vol. I in the Heartstreams series): It's in our DNA, it seems: spend time beside flowing water, and you will incline to thinking philosophically. Spend time beside flowing water in the desert, that all too rare thing, and you will be spurred to indignation at how badly we humans manage creation. Spend time casting lines and lures into a desert stream, and your mind will fill with intimations of mortality and immortality and the nature of things. All of these matters, and more, turn up in these pages as Matthew Dickerson, a fine and eloquent storyteller, leads us into a world of currents, tippets, and ties in search of, yes, a trout in the desert—but more, a river worthy of that magnificent, elusive fish. It's an epic voyage in a slender volume; one that every angler and river rat will want to read.” —Gregory McNamee, author of Gila: The Life and Death of an American River
“If Matthew Dickerson's paean to the cold waters and elusive fish of the American southwest were not so beautifully rendered you might be tempted to put it down, get out your rod, and step into the nearest stream. But Trout In The Desert will stop you in your tracks. It is not only a splendid testament to one man's passion, but an enchanting evocation of a landscape's unfolding secrets.” —Sue Halpern, regular contributor to The New Yorker, author of A Dog Walks Into a Nursing Home: Lessons in the Good Life from an Unlikely Teacher