It has been said that life is what happens while you’re waiting to go fishing. Only weeks after his eleven-year marriage abruptly ended in an amicable divorce, James Dodson decided to go on a fly-fishing pilgrimage west. His goal: to heal his wounded spirit and explain as best he could the vagaries of life and love to his beautiful, precocious seven-year-old daughter, Maggie. So with his beat-up truck, Old Blue, and his aging retriever, Amos, Dodson and Maggie set out without plans or reservations, following where the sprit – and the lure of America’s mighty rivers – leads them, on their way to one of America’s grandest treasures: Yellowstone National Park. On the way Dodson discovers a great deal abut fishing, about America, and about the special relationship that exists only between a father and daughter.
They travel from the Adirondacks, once a fly-angler’s haven to the mist-shrouded Niagara Falls; from the Michigan lakes Hemingway roamed as a boy to small-town county fairs; from the majesty of Mount Rushmore to the mysticism of Harney’s Peak, where Black Elk had his legendary visions – all the way to the fly-fisherman’s paradise of the San Juan River. Together father and daughter are bound by a tie as resilient and unpredictable as a fly-fisherman’s lie. For as the emotional waters in which they fish become ever more turbulent, Maggie’s unspoken feelings of grief, anger and blame begins to surface – a depth of hurt that forces Dodson to face his own unacknowledged pain and, worse, leaves him feeling helpless to make everything all right in his daughter’s life again. Yet if fly-fishing has taught James Dodson anything, it is the rewards of patience, of following the wisdom of the course of the stream, the unexpected revelations reflected in still pools, and of course an abiding belief I plain dumb luck. With a little of each, these faithful travelers will find their way home again.
Literate, honest and deeply observant, Faithful Travelers is a beautiful meditation on the bond between parent and child and the nature of love and loss. James Dodson proves that sometimes life isn’t what happens while you’re waiting to go fishing: sometimes it happens while you’re there.
“"James Dodson’s Faithful Travelers is more than a travelogue – a father-daughter bonding under the guise of fly-fishing. It is a journey of self-discovery equal to Dodson’s extraordinary first book, Final Rounds, and one that offers tender perspectives on the awesome task of parenting and of the perplexing task of being one’s self. A brilliantly written book by one of America’s most gifted writers.”" –
- Terry Kay, author of The Runaway
"James Dodson has written what every woman who loves her father has been waiting for, and what every father who loves his little girl needs: the perfect daddy-daughter love story…That this woefully neglected subject doubles as a grand fly-fishing adventure makes it, I think, a new American classic….and a much-deserved, if unintentional, tribute to the new America Dad."”
- Jessica Maxwell, author of I don’t Know Why I Swallowed the Fly
"“A unique and poignant odyssey of father and daughter in search of trout and a new sense of family. Faithful Travelers is a fly-fishing journey made immensely memorable by its wise and vibrant sojourners.”" –
- Nick Lyons author of A Flyfisher’s World
"“Having set a new standard for the writing of family odysseys with his poignant Final Rounds, James Dodson now raises the bar clear up to heaven. Faithful Travelers is surely the sweetest father-and-daughter story ever told.”" –
- Paul Hemphill, author of The Heart of the Game