The Gould Chronicles Continue

Maine's Golden Road

By John Gould

W.W. Norton

192 pp., $21

For 32 summers, John Gould and Bill Dornbusch had the pleasure of each other's company on trips into Maine's backwoods. As grandfathers of the same grandchildren, they became "serious friends" and ventured forth somewhat in the footsteps of Henry David Thoreau, who once visited Maine.

Gould's style, as it has been for the last 60 years, is easy and sweet with the humor of a man who loves all the details and foibles of more than just two buddies fishing in the woods. This is Maine let loose, the best of Gould meeting the best of Maine. But this is not sequential writing. Gould likes the stewpot mix with choice chunks of meat, vegetables, and spices dropped in to achieve the taste that satisfies.

The two men head out over logging roads to find the best lakes for fishing and the best people for spinning tales. "Oh, the trout were there all right," says Gould, "but they'd sulk, or observe some special holiday." Besides fish, they encounter loons, bears, too many road signs, canoes, loggers, and an acre of characters who live and let live in their own way. Gould adds a few recipes because he and Bill love to eat and load their pickup with "frivolities as well as necessities."

In the end, there is no end. Gould's chronicles - and this is his 29th book - will live on, an archive of beautiful fun and wit from a man Bill knows is a genuine Maine treasure.

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