By Lou Ureneck
While father and son fishing trips can be the stuff of American legend, they can also turn out to be the stuff of anger, love and self-discovery. In his memoir of a fishing trip through the Alaskan wilderness, Lou Ureneck brings to life the struggle to reclaim the trust of his teenage son, Adam, following his divorce. Told against the backdrop of the Alaskan wilds, Backcast is the remembrance of a fishing trip that carried a father and son from the mountains of Alaska to the Bering Sea. Along the way, nature transforms from friend into foe, and their struggles are played out against the poignant emotional battle raging between the two as they descend the river headed toward confrontation. On their journey, the two encounter nature’s dangers — bears, violent river currents and ruthless, punishing weather — as well as the hurts that exist between them, the reasons for divorce, the absence of a father and the withheld love of a son. Dipping his hand into the river of his own life, Ureneck recounts his own fatherless childhood, the influence of his mother’s boyfriend who helped him learn to fish, and the realization that he himself had done the one thing he always promised himself he would not do: He ended his marriage in divorce. Part adventure story, part reconciliation with life’s unexpected turns, and part commentary on the healing power of nature, “Backcast” explores the world of a man confronted by the hard choices divorce can bring to create a moving meditation on fatherhood.