THE ONE-WAY BRIDGE

By Cathie Pelletier

Sourcebooks, 2013

373 pages, $14.99

ISBN 978-1-4022-8761-9

 

Mattagash, Maine is a fictional town filled with fictional people, but it might as well be real. When folks read Cathie Pelletier’s newest novel, “The One-Way Bridge,” they may well say, “Holy smoke, I know those people!” And they’ll be right.

Pelletier lives in Allagash, is a popular, award-winning author and this is her 10th book, following “Running the Bulls” (2005).

Once again, Pelletier captures the quirky nature of small-town characters — folks who all know one another, gossip about each other and sometimes don’t get along — with very funny results. Mattagash folks are actually very nice, normal people who sometimes let little trivial disputes take on greater importance than they deserve, making people say and do incredibly stupid things.

The town is divided by a small river and connected by a wooden, one-way bridge. Town protocol says “whoever drives onto the bridge first has the right-of-way,” but it won’t be long before the bridge becomes the focus of a silly dispute between two stubborn old men, Orville Craft and Harry Plunkett, over an obscure event 40 years ago that only one man even remembers.

Their feud is magnified to circus level when the sheriff finds a dead body on the road, a local petty drug dealer peddles fake Viagra pills to town wives and Orville is tricked into taking the little blue pill with predictably hilarious results at home.

Meanwhile, the Delgato boys are too dumb to be real criminals, but their baseball scene in Wal-Mart is very funny, and Tommy Gifford works hard on his philosophy of life — “If it ain’t broke, break it.”

This is a very funny, tender story told with Pelletier’s signature wry humor and a healthy dash of reality as folks finally figure out that some things just aren’t worth fighting over.

 

STONEFLIES & TURTLEHEADS:

A MAINE FLYFISHER’S MISADVENTURES

By D. Dauphinee

North Country Press, 2013

217 pages, $15.95

ISBN 978-0-945980-50-6

 

Among all the books written about fly fishing in recent years, Maine author Denis Dauphinee’s debut book, “Stoneflies & Turtleheads” is by far one of the best.

Dauphinee may be passionate about many things, but one things is certain: He loves fly fishing so much that he’s fished in South America, the Middle East, Europe, above the Arctic Circle, across the U.S. and, of course, here in Maine.

He also claims he’s not much of a writer, but he’s wrong. This collection of 19 essays is very well-written, funny, informative and entertaining. Readers will see the rivers and streams, the mountains and lake, the people and the fish in an elegant narrative that truly conveys the patience, solitude, and “the simple romance and poetry of fly fishing.”

This is a marvelous guide to fresh-water fly fishing, including discussions of equipment, types of flies for conditions, best types of water, time of day, and what insects are hatching to lure fish as well as detailed descriptions of certain varieties of fish — from the most popular game fish like salmon, trout and Arctic charr to “trash” fish like pickerel, chubs and crappie (that’s the name, not an opinion).

As part travelogue, the book also offers colorful descriptions of exotic fishing trips to Peru, the Holy Land, Baffin Island and Otter Stream outside his backdoor. Dauphinee also likes to climb mountains — the Andes and the Rockies are his favorites — but he always takes along his fly rod, reel and a couple of his favorite flies, just in case.

Learn why being “skunked” has nothing to do with an offensive odor, why Maine fishermen don’t like bass, how a scorpion sting in a tender location can ruin your day and what fly fishermen really think of bait fishermen.

Bill Bushnell lives and writes in Harpswell.