Roderick L(angmere) Haig-Brown J. R. de la TORRE BUENO, JR. - Essay

J. R. de la TORRE BUENO, JR.

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

There have been men before now who wrote of the Pacific salmon, especially of the chinooks and their amazing cycle of life…. R. L. Haig-Brown tells it again in "Return to the River"; and to this reviewer's knowledge not one of his predecessors has brought to the telling such a knowledge of the subject, so broad a vision, so fine a feeling for the mountains and waters of the Pacific Northwest, or prose of such magnificent simplicity and beauty…. [His] is a book practically perfect. If Henry Williamson's English counterpart, "Salar the Salmon," found its readers by thousands, Mr. Haig-Brown's audience should be counted by tens of thousands. No sportsman, no nature lover, no conservationist, no person sensitive to the grandeur and sweep of the process of living, can read this book without being profoundly moved.

It is, quite simply, the story of the life of one particular fish, a female chinook, whom the author identifies by naming her Spring….

An ordinary enough story, to be sure….

Yet, as Mr. Haig-Brown tells it, Spring's story is neither simple nor ordinary. There is not a single aspect of the fish's life with which he does not deal thoroughly, giving you all the details of how Spring feeds and grows and moves at each stage of her development, of the dangers she meets and how she is saved from them through a combination of luck and hair-trigger instinct; giving you a fine picture of the work...

(The entire section is 422 words.)