Book Review: "Fly Fishing The River of Second Chances"
by Amanda Prentiss
Jennifer Olsson's book "Fly Fishing the River of Second Chances" is as much of a story about cultural idiosyncrasies, and the crazy things that love makes people do, as it is about fly fishing. Her memoirs describe the unlikely events that led her to leave her marriage and her home in Montana to spend a summer in the remote forest village of Gimdalen, Sweden.
In many ways the book is like a collection of essays about life in the Swedish hinterland connected by the Idjstrommen River, which flows through each chapter and near the town of Gimdalen. Her humorous accounts of village life are populated by tunnbrod baking grandmothers, Midsummer's Eve festivals, barn dances, somber bachelors, moose hunts, and unusual culinary delights like beets, knackebrot and surstromming (otherwise known as rotten fish).

Then of course there is the fishing. Jennifer admits, "I assumed my life was going to be defined by trout. I did not know that one day I would start a new life with a grayish fish with a forked tail, or that this aquatic-insect-eating, dry-fly-biting creature would swim its way into my fly fishing heart." Grayling have a beautiful burgundy and blue-green dorsal fin; they will rush from the depths of a river to take a dry fly if it has been presented accurately, with fine tippit and no drag. Perhaps best of all, they live in the Idjistrommen, where the water is clean enough to drink and the forest is dense and undisturbed. Against this backdrop, Jennifer's tales of her pursuit for grayling are particularly compelling.