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The Contest

Hardcover, 250 pages, Fiction

ISBN: 978-1-939017-10-9

Availability: In stock


The Contest is available as an ebook in these formats:

Amazon Kindle
Barnes & Noble Nook
Apple iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch

About this Book:

"The only constant passion in my life was my love of fly fishing and all that went with it. I coveted the escape I could find sitting at my vise for hours, tying deceitful little flies. I loved to be in the world where trout lived—the rivers and mountains and forests and meadows, away from people and the demands and requirements that created stress in my life."

Meet Benedict Salem, whose friends call him BS, a frustrated writer and teacher looking to find himself. Middle-aged and blocked creatively, his dreams are filled with those magical moments when the weather, the lay of the cast, the fly, and the water converge with the fish in one fluid arc of perfection. The desire to perpetuate these moments takes BS to a small town in Maine, home to the crossing house inn, behind which lies a tract of virtual wilderness, a clean-running river, and a bounty of large, smart, and mostly fearless trout.

BS soon befriends the owner of the inn, Bill Cahill, and together they and a group of fellow anglers found the Samuel Tippett Fly Fishers club. They soon devise a fishing contest between them, but what starts out as a friendly game to determine the best trout fly to represent their new club, quickly descends into a bitter rivalry that threatens to overtake reason. Feelings and friendships are forgotten as a fight over rules and the hunger to win takes hold of the men.

In a deftly interwoven tale that explores the camaraderie and sportsmanship among anglers, The Contest challenges the wisdom of chasing perfection, and instead, encourages the reader to revel in life's most important moments, however brief or passing. 

The Contest

"...  the novel is about a group of anglers in the Samuel Tippett Fly Fishers Club in a small Maine town. It’s about trout, fishing, river ecology and conservation, and friendships, with some important and insightful lessons of life rising to the surface ... The novel explores, in a fascinating way, the wisdom of chasing perfection. A compelling read, I couldn’t wait to get to the final chapters to find out how the contest ended and if the Club survived. Hurley, a writer, visual artist, and musician – and of course, an avid fly fisherman - summed it up beautifully with this quote, from Samuel Tippett: “I truly believe that a river without the beauty of trout is no river at all.” I like his thinking as much as I liked his novel."
–George Smith, author and blogger

The Contest is about a lot more than fly fishing. It’s about people’s relationships to each other and to nature. The novel is funny, imaginative, and touching."
–Tinky Weisblat, The Recorder

“The Contest captures the grandeur of fishing in the Maine wilderness. James Hurley...explores the competitive aspects that can creep into even the most solitary sports.”
 —Tom Vannah, The Valley Advocate

“The Contest is a great read and I highly recommend it if you are a fly fisherman or not. James Hurley tells a great story…”
—Kevin McKay,

"Hurley is a crafty writer, lulling the reader into relaxed comfort as 10 men form a fishing and drinking club in the tavern of the Crossing House Inn in northern Maine. Then, with careful humor, warmth and foreshadowing, Hurley’s initial light-hearted tale takes a serious turn...."
—Bill Bushnell, Kennebec Journal 

“If you are up for an introspective book that explores the camaraderie and sportsmanship among anglers that challenges the wisdom of being the best at all cost, then pick up a copy of The Contest.”
—The Fly Fishing Reporter Blog

James Hurley

About this Author

James Hurley is a writer, visual artist, and musician living in Massachusetts. His articles, essays, and sketches have appeared in numerous publications throughout New England, as well as several national magazines, i



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