What makes an essay great has little to do with its subject matter—it takes an illuminating undercurrent to truly bring the form to life. For example, travel essays are not interesting solely due to all the exotic locations and the roads less traveled.
On that note, Maximilian Werner’s collection of 16 essays, Black River Dreams, is simply fly fishing. Yet under that placid surface is a turbulent world of shared experiences. Werner uses the essay form to lyrically explore the human condition and a personal awakening to the beauty of the planet surrounding him. So, as he writes about casting big dry flies to Apache trout during the waning hours of sunlight, he also touches on the serenity of spending time with his accompanying wife amid mountain tranquility. Furthermore, Werner hits on communal touchstones like cancer, youth and the inevitability of aging, beautifully tying such human drama to something else universal: nature.