The Gospel of Eels
The Gospel of EelsSons, fathers and the world’s most mysterious fishPatrik Svensson
Part H is for Hawk, part The Secret Life of Cows, THE GOSPEL OF EELS is a reflection on the human condition; a meditation on the relationship between a father and son in their shared passion for eel fishing, and the elusive fish itself.
‘I can’t recall us ever talking about anything other than eels and how to best catch them, down there by the stream. Actually, I can’t remember us speaking at all. Maybe because we never did.’
Thus begins Patrik Svensson’s THE GOSPEL OF EELS, a book about fishing for eels, about his relationship with his father, as well as a fascinating account of the cultural, mythological and scientific life of eels, the world’s most mysterious fish.
In a perfectly balanced and evocative narrative, written in alternating chapters, we get to know the complex father and son relationship through scenes of their eel catching adventures on idyllic Swedish rivers and lakes, and in every other chapter we learn of the collective knowledge about the fish itself, from Aristotle to the present day.
Remarkably little is known about the eel, Anguilla anguilla, even today and in this age of advanced science and knowledge, that sense of mystery captivates us. We don’t even know how they navigate to the Sargasso Sea where they supposedly breed, and no-one has ever seen eels mating.
Through the exploration of eels in literature , in the history of science (both Aristotle and Sigmund Freud had very complex relationships with eels) as well as modern marine biology, we get to see this peculiar animal from different angles. In this exploration, we also learn about the human condition, our origins, fate, life and death, through memoir and nature writing at its best. Patrik Svensson concludes “through writing a book about eels, I have, in a way, also returned home.”
“What an amazing book. About eels! — a haunting and extraordinary creature. When Eugenio Montale wanted a metaphor for the revival of Europe after World War II, he found it in a glimpse of a gold-brown eel in a muddy Ligurian stream, and when Rachel Carson wanted to convey to her readers the intricacy of the relationship between salt and fresh water, she imagined the migration of eels. Patrik Svensson explores both their mystery and the science that has brought them into focus in the last few decades and made them seem a vivid indicator species for the health of our planet.”
— Robert Hass, author of Summer Snow
“A wonderful read. The story of the eel is one of the most fascinating on the planet, but equally fascinating is the story Patrik Svensson tells so well here about the mysteries of being.”
— Bernd Heinrich, author of Mind of the Raven
Chinese (simp): Booky
Chinese (comp): Chi Ming
Croatian: Stilus Knjiga
Dutch: De Bezige Bij/Thomas Rap
English (UK Com): Picador
English (N Am): Ecco
English (US): Harper Collins US
French: Le Seuil
Japanese: Schinchosha Publishing
Korean: Tornado Media
Lithuanian: Baltos Lankos
Norwegian: Gyldendal Norsk
Portuguese (EU): Objectiva
Portuguese (BR): Intrinseca
Romanian: Editura Cartea Romaneasca
Russian: Mann, Ivanov & Ferber
Spanish: Libros del Asteroide