Our Love Will Go the Way of the Salmon

BOOK: Our Love Will Go the Way of the Salmon
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“Populated by talking fish, polite fish, sad fish, even fish masquerading as women, perhaps the very strangest thing about
Our Love Will Go the Way of the Salmon
is its profound human empathy—which glows as only empathy can. From a girl on the run who trades her body for a safe place to sleep, to sisters who hold on for dear life to the memory of that one year everything was good, Cameron Pierce’s characters live in a gutted fairy-tale world, drowning in the darkest water of life. At the heart of this book is a good heart. It may belong to a fish or a human; the beauty is, we never will know.”


Kate Bernheimer
, author of
How a Mother Weaned Her Girl from Fairy Tales

“Beautiful and weird and bleakly funny as fuck,
Our Love Will Go the Way of the Salmon
picked up my love along the way and never dropped it off. I’m still riding inside the book’s zesty flesh, gaping through its lidless eyes at a world transformed.”


John Skipp
,
New York Times
bestselling author

of
The Bridge
(w/ Craig Spector)

“Cameron Pierce leaps Bizarro from the school of worldly fish tales, recalling Grimms’ talking catches, Ueda Akinari’s piscine transformations, and the weird and wonderful angling stories of Richard Brautigan, Robert Jones, and Annie Proulx. But Pierce’s work inhabits a stream of its own. Here are vivid, fantastic, unpredictable and beautifully told stories that swim the seam between achingly believable, heartbreaking human drama and violent bizarre hyper-action and fantasy. Imagine Quentin Tarantino remaking
A River Runs Through It
. Pierce understands what fascinates, enchants, terrifies and disgusts us about fish, and he brilliantly explores these deep creatures as psychological projections of our best and worst selves.”


Henry Hughes
, Oregon Book Award-winning

author and editor


Our Love Will Go the Way of the Salmon
seemed like stories Kafka and Edgar Allan Poe would write if they were fishing buddies: men turn into fish, women reveal themselves to be fish, men fall in love with other men while cooking fish in the jungles of Vietnam...and through it all Cameron Pierce guides you with taut prose and a kind of fucked up heart.”


Elizabeth Ellen
, author of
Fast Machine


Our Love Will Go the Way of the Salmon
is a book that only Cameron Pierce could write. He manages to masterfully blend the best parts of Bizarro & literary fiction to make something that is beautiful, creepy, tender, brutal, and completely and 100% unique.”


Juliet Escoria
, author of
Black Cloud

“I like my short story collections like I like my men: thoughtful, funny, and talking often of fish.”


Amelia Gray
, author of
Museum of the Weird

and
Threats

“Part Terry Bisson, part Cormac McCarthy, part rocket launcher—Pierce’s
Our Love Will Go the Way of the Salmon
brilliantly uses the fishing prism to examine loss, living without, and never having had.”


Weston Ochse
, author of
SEAL Team 666

“I was submerged in every one of these stories. Sometimes terrified, sometimes sad, sometimes laughing hard. Some of the imaginings were insane. There were man-sized fish and talking fish and there were normal fish too. The fish brought messages of doom. But the world was familiar. A planet of disappointments and loss and whiskey and friends. That’s what I like so much about Cameron’s writing. That’s what I loved about this book.”


Ben Brooks
, author of
Grow Up


Our Love Will Go the Way of the Salmon
is Hemingway’s
In Our Time
re-mixed by Kafka and David Lynch—an enormous heart in a puddle of river water. It’s in the subtle distortions of reality in these stories we find the deeper truths reality can’t offer or even afford us. And in the not so subtle stories, we’re in for a thrill of a fucking ride.”


Troy James Weaver
, author of
Wichita Stories

 

 

 

 

 

Our Love Will Go the Way of the Salmon

 

Sway

 

Drop the World

 

Short of Lundy

 

Help Me

 

The Bass Fisherman’s Wife

 

Three Fishermen

 

Floodland

 

The Incoming Tide

 

Trophies

 

Let Love In

 

Easiest Kites There Are to Fly

 

The Snakes of Boring

 

California Oregon

 

Where the Salmon Go

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For my father, who taught me how to fish.

For my mother, who taught me how to read.

And for Kirsten, who taught me how to love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ducks in the lake were mechanical, but after all these years, all these disasters, the salmon remained flesh and blood. They carried battle scars. They hung out in the shade of overhanging trees and beneath the decaying dock, sighing once in a while in remembrance of all they’d gone through. Not to mention the fellow salmon lost along the way.

The salmon had officially retired about a decade before. I moved out of Oregon around the same time. I figured if I could no longer catch salmon in the lake where my grandmother had taught me to catch them, what was the point of living in a place. I returned because Grandma rang me up a few nights back and she said, “Greg, take me fishing one last time.” So I called in several sick days at the mill and packed my bags.

As we stood there on the shore of Desolation Lake, listening to the ducks quack robotic, I came face to face with the small distance we had traveled in our lives since the days when this lake greeted us like a cathedral made of fins and scales. Grandma could no longer walk. I had to push her in a rickety wooden wheelchair that she complained gave her splinters. As for myself, I was turning forty soon, pushing two-fifty on the scale. She was twice divorced. I was never married.

I figured she wouldn’t much notice the difference between our old salmon rods—nine-foot sabers with a whole lot of backbone and acrobatic tips—and the ultra-light Eagle Claw trout rods we were using today. What I didn’t anticipate was for Grandma to be mostly blind. She never mentioned it when we talked on the phone, but when I watched her, I just knew.

BOOK: Our Love Will Go the Way of the Salmon
4.65Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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