About the Book: The Guide

Kingfisher Lodge, nestled in a canyon on a mile and a half of the most pristine river water on the planet, boasts boutique fishing at its finest. Safe from viruses that have plagued America for years, Kingfisher offers a respite for wealthy clients, and now a second chance for Jack after a young life filled with loss. When he is assigned to guide a well-known singer, his only job is to rig her line, carry her gear, and steer her to the best trout he can find. But then a human scream pierces the night, and Jack soon realizes that this idyllic fishing lodge may be merely a cover for a far more sinister operation.

Peter Heller Peter Heller

About the Author: Peter Heller

Peter Heller is a longtime contributor to NPR, and a former contributing editor at Outside Magazine, Men’s Journal, and National Geographic Adventure. He is an award-winning adventure writer and the author of five books, including his most recent, The Guide. Heller’s debut novel, The Dog Stars, was the 2014 Novel Idea selection. It was critically celebrated and a breakout bestseller, and has been published in 18 languages. Heller was born and raised in New York he now lives in Denver.

The Guide-Discussion Questions

An Interview with Peter Heller

I knew I was going to be a writer when I was about six and started writing poems. My dad read to me every night before I went to sleep. It was my favorite thing. He read Treasure Island and Never Cry Wolf, but also e.e. cummings and Don Marquis’s wonderful book of poems by a cockroach, Archy and Mehitabel. All before I was in second grade. By the time I was 11 he was reading Yeats. I loved it. The music of the language, the images, the wit, the stories—I wanted to do that.

I think my favorite scene is in the very beginning when Jack has a discussion about the great Japanese poet Basho with the fishers Yumi and Teiji. Teiji is testing Jack, probing the true depths of his knowledge, and Jack takes the gauntlet and the conversation is peppery and fun. But then the haiku that Jack recites as befitting his present mood is telling, and picturesque and ominous like the lodge itself.

The temple bell stops— but the sound keeps coming out of the flowers.

It presages death, and the almost inaudible messages Jack keeps trying to decipher about this strange fishing lodge.

That a narrative dubbed a thriller can be truly lyrical, and have things to say about our lives that are striking and meaningful. Also, that almost all luxury comes at someone else’s expense.

I’m always suspicious of the nature vs. nurture contest in any context. They are so intertwined. They foster and impinge on each other. We are now learning that stress and trauma can change DNA and that their effects can be passed from one generation to the next. I think it’s awesome to have a parent that just loves great literature and is excited to share it with you. It’s also lucky to be generally healthy and have good energy, and stamina for reading, and for learning a craft. What are the essential ingredients that make a true writer? Wild love and discipline, and these are both bestowed and cultivated. Amen.


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