Books: Rare Bird Open Season

by William Humphrey Delacorte; 323 pages; $18.95

At 62, William Humphrey is to minimalists of the Raymond Carver school what an old silk-wrapped, split-cane fly rod is to a shiny new graphite lunker stick. The proof lies in these 13 glowing tales gathered for the first time in one volume.

My Moby Dick finds Humphrey in the Berkshire Hills of lower Massachusetts, resolved to take a 30-pounder in a sporting manner befitting its own dark nobility. In the fading light of the trout season's last day, with the strains of Beethoven's Ode to Joy still echoing down from the Tanglewood concert shed above, he finally hooks the great...

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