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About The Book

The author of the instant fishing classic The Optimist wades into deeper waters and shares new wisdom, humor, and experience in seven extraordinary fly-fishing expeditions that mark one year in his journey through the middle part of life when worldly demands increase even as fishing continues to beckon—and must be pursued.

In David Coggins’s previous book, The Optimist, he tackles the techniques of fly fishing and meditates on its virtues, recounting his triumphs and frustrations. Now, in The Believer, he deftly mixes travel, local cultures, further fishing challenges (some knee-buckling in their disappointment), and details his own experience as life and love crowd his time to fish. Self-consciously—and self-deprecatingly—Coggins embarks on seven far-flung fishing voyages, away from screens and social media, not answering his phone, reveling in humanity’s undying yearning for a quest, for the rituals and rites of passage that mark transition. For David, these journeys not only showcase his skill as an angler—including to Norway, Scotland, Spain, Cuba, and Argentina, as well as road trips to Wyoming, Tennessee, and the Catskills—they also signal the end of his fly-fishing youth. But that doesn’t mean that David will sell all his rods and hang up his hat; rather, that his relationship with his fly-fishing obsession will evolve. And he’s okay with that—mostly, especially if he can catch an elusive salmon or a ferociously strong tarpon or the mysterious and almost invisible bonefish.

The Believer is a humble, humorous call for the journey that is part of the destination, where the search for greater self-awareness leads to patience, observation, and endurance. And, since this is fly fishing, after all—there’s always the possibility of abject failure and leaping, glorious reward.

Wry, entertaining, thoughtful, and relatable, The Believer will hook both anglers and non-anglers alike.

About The Author

Photograph by Spencer Wells

David Coggins is the author of The Optimist and the New York Times bestseller Men and Style. He writes about travel, style, and fishing for numerous publications, including the Financial TimesEsquire, and his newsletter, The Contender. Coggins lives in New York and fishes regularly in the Catskills, Wisconsin, and Montana.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Scribner (May 9, 2024)
  • Length: 224 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781668004715

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Raves and Reviews

"This humorous and moving memoir by David Coggins has 'must-read dad book' written all over it, whether pops is a serious angler or just dreams of finding a little waterside solitude." —Condé Nast Traveler’s Best Gifts for Dads

“In The Believer, David Coggins, an engaging writer with a good sense of humor, chronicles a year angling in places most of us can only dream about.” —Wall Street Journal

“A wonderful example of how well angling can weave us into the world. . . . Coggins writes with equal measure of wisdom and humor and brings his enviable itinerary fully to life. . . . He has a gift for connecting with interesting people and for enjoying cultural nuances when he travels. He takes fishing but not himself seriously and is a fine travel companion for the reader. . . . Non-anglers as well as anglers will enjoy his nuanced travel writing.” —Gray’s Sporting Journal

“Fishing is so much more than casting and catching, and so is The Believer. In his latest book, Coggins incites the absolute conviction that despite the craziness of what you are about to do, it is the right thing. Readers will close the book reassured that one doesn’t have to catch a fish to be a successful angler [rather] in David Coggins’ irreverent but informative prose, why failure is as entertaining as success. I propose a toast to Coggins and The Believer: may ‘the thrill of undiluted purpose and barely contained madness’ keep returning time and time again." —Atlantic Salmon Journal

“David Coggins shares tales of angling adventures across three continents with wit, entertaining anecdotes of fish caught and lost, and a bit of self-deprecating humor. Beyond his skillful depictions of the fisheries, Coggins does an excellent job capturing the flavor of each locale. But perhaps the most relatable aspect is how Coggins tries to balance the responsibilities of life with his fondness for fishing. . . . an enjoyable, worthwhile read.” —Salt Water Sportsman Magazine

“A global fishing trip that hooks more than fish. . . . [A] meditative, enjoyable book, [The Believer is] an engaging personal journey about finding what you need to find and keeping it in your heart.” Kirkus (starred review)

“Coggins plumbs connections between angling and life with loved ones; his account of negotiating the Patagonia trip with his girlfriend is a masterful analysis of gender relations. Glimpses of Bruce Chatwin, Butch Cassidy, Rainer Maria Rilke, bad beer, and a polo match bring Coggins' celebration of fly fishing to life.” —Booklist

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