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PUBLICATION DATE: July 7, 2022
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Illuminated By Water: Nature, Memory and the Delights of a Fishing Life
By (author) Malachy Tallack
Malachy Tallack has been passionate about fishing since he was young.Growing up in Shetland, with its myriad lochs, he and his brother would roam the island in search of trout, and in so doing discovered a sense of freedom, of wonder, and an abiding passion.But why is it that catching a fish – or simply contemplating catching a fish – can be so thrilling, so captivating?Why is it that time spent beside water can be imprinted so sharply in the memory?Why is it that what seems such a simple act – that of casting a line and hoping – can feel so rich in mystery?Illuminated by Water is Malachy’s personal attempt to understand that freedom, and to trace the origins and sources of that sense of wonder. He shares the appeal of fishing, its intense joys and frustrations, the steadying effect it has both at water’s edge and in the memory, and the contemplation of nature and landscape that comes with being an angler. He writes about fishing expeditions, from English canals and Scottish lochs to lakes in Canada and New Zealand, and he reflects on other aspects of angling, from its cultural significance and the emerging moral complexities to the intricacies of tying a fly.Beautifully written and hugely engaging, this book both articulates the inexplicable lure of the river and the endless desire to return to it, and illuminates a passion that has shaped the way so many see and think about the natural world.
Reviews of Illuminated By Water: Nature, Memory and the Delights of a Fishing Life
A memoir with a difference, beautifully evocative, suffused with the calm of many days spent fishing and thinking in tranquillity. The perfect gift for anglers everywhere. — GAVIN FRANCIS, author of Island Dreams A beautifully meandering meditation on the mysterious allure of fishing. From windswept lochs to sluggish canals, Malachy Tallack grapples with big ethical issues about our place in the natural world as deftly as he does the fish. — LEE SCHOFIELD, author of the Wild Fell… I loved it . . . I loved its attentiveness to place and animal, its elucidation of the unseen spirits of water and fish and it made me want to pick up a rod for the first time since I was a teenager. Tallack has written one of those books that transcends its niche subject. — STEPHEN RUTT, author of The Seafarers Both a fitting tribute to what Malachy Tallack calls "this deep attentiveness to time and place", and a vivid new species that glitters among the shoals of books about angling. As a non-angler, I was startled by his notion of "the peculiar idea that beauty might have something to do with fishing, or that fishing might have something to do with beauty". By the end of the book, I had the peculiar idea that the same could be true of writing about fishing. — JIM CRUMLEY, author of Lakeland Wild Tallack's stylish and sensitive writing captures all the dimensions of our wonderful fishing obsession in a way that reminds me of Nick Lyons and Norman Maclean at their best, those angler/writer masters whose ranks he now joins. — W.D.WETHERELL, author of One River More
Malachy Tallack is the award-winning author of three books. His first, Sixty Degree North (2015) was a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week and short-listed for the Saltire First Book Award. His second, The Un-Discovered Islands (2016), was Stanford Travel Writing Awards’ Illustrated Book of the Year, while his debut novel, The Valley at the Centre of the World, was shortlisted for the Highland Book Prize and longlisted for the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize. He received a New Writers Award from the Scottish Book Trust in 2014, and the Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship in 2015. He is a founding editor of online magazine The Island Review and, as a singer-songwriter, he has released four albums and an EP, and performed across the UK. Malachy Tallack grew up in Shetland and currently lives in central Scotland.