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The Book of Eels: Our Enduring Fascination with the Most Mysterious Creature in the Natural World Hardcover – Deckle Edge, May 26, 2020

4.6 out of 5 stars 17 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Captivating . . . shot through with electric current. The book’s deadpan title perhaps undercuts its depth and complexity. Yes, this is a book about eels, those uncanny creatures, but in Svensson’s capable hands it is also a book about obsession and mystery, about faith and science, and about the limits of knowledge . . . Like Annie Dillard and Rachel Carson, Svensson knows the best nature writing is done with emotion and drive.” (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

“Fascinating.” (What's Jordana Reading, Summer Reads)

"Enthralling." (Colorado Springs Gazette)

“Nature writing at its finest. Svensson's memories of eel fishing with his father speak to the intersection of life and science, and add to its heart.” (Shelf Awareness)

“Blending a wonderfully evocative and succinct timeline of scientific discoveries about eels with a memoir of his changing relationship with his father, Svensson has produced an extremely readable book on a fish that all have heard of but few (on our side of the pond) have actually seen.” (Booklist)

“An unusual and beguiling guide to an unusual and beguiling animal. . . . Svensson’s book, like its subject, is a strange beast: a creature of metamorphosis, a shape-shifter that moves among realms. It is a book of natural history, and a memoir about a son and his father. It is also an exploration of literature and religion and custom, and what it means to live in a world full of questions we can’t always answer.” (The New Yorker)

“As much a boon to my mental life as a blow to my social one. For weeks after reading I found myself cornering people at parties to obliterate them with a machine-gun spray of eel facts. But according to The Book of Eels, I’m not alone in my eelmania. . . . If you don’t think of yourself as someone who might enjoy meditating on eel glory, well, I didn’t either, and here I am transcribing my encounter for publication.” (New York magazine)

“Captivating . . . The Book of Eels is, in the end, not really about eels but about life itself.” (Wall Street Journal)

“Poses questions about philosophy, the metaphysical, and the spiritual, as well as scientific issues, in a way that will stir readers. This beautifully crafted book challenges us not only to understand eels but our own selves. Highly recommended.” (Library Journal (starred review))

“Svensson . . . melds the personal and scientific in this captivating look at the European eel. . . . Nature-loving readers will be enthralled by [his] fascinating zoological odyssey.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

About the Author

Patrik Svensson is an arts and culture journalist at Sydsvenskan newspaper. He lives with his family in Malmö, Sweden. The Gospel of Eels is his first book.

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