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Illuminated by Water

Fly Fishing and the Allure of the Natural World

Published by Pegasus Books
Distributed by Simon & Schuster

About The Book

In its blending of nature writing and memoir—also touching on the connection of time, beauty, and memory—Illuminated by Water is an elegiac tribute to fly fishing and the natural world.

Illuminated by Water is a book about the author’s own decades-long passion for ­fly fishing and how it has shaped the way he sees and thinks about the natural world. That passion is shared and made legible here, not just for other anglers, but for those who have never yet cast a line in the water. Why is it that catching ­fish—or even thinking about catching 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 a simple act of casting a line and hoping can feel so rich in mystery?

Alternating between regional and thematic chapters, Tallack considers ‘wildness’, its pursuit, and its meanings; the compulsive appeal of tying flies; the ethics of catching and killing; the allure of big ­fish; and beauty—where it’s sought and where it’s found. He describes ­fly fishing trips to America, Canada, Shetland, and England. Throughout the book, certain themes recur—environmental harm and healing; the relationship between fishing and time; hope and its manifestations; and the ways in which angling can deepen engagement with the natural world. 

About The Author

Malachy Tallack is the award-winning author of three previous books: Sixty Degrees North, The Un-Discovered Islands, and, most recently, a novel, The Valley at the Centre of the World. He has received both a New Writers Award and the Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship from the Scottish Book Trust, and as a singer-songwriter has released four albums and an EP. Malachy grew up in the Shetland Islands and currently lives in central Scotland.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Pegasus Books (August 2, 2022)
  • Length: 352 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781639361663

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Raves and Reviews

Praise for Malachy Tallack’s Sixty Degrees North:

“It is a brave book—and a beautiful book.”

– Robert Macfarlane, New York Times bestselling author

“A subtle, thoughtful study of life on the sixtieth parallel. Highly enjoyable.”

– The Financial Times

“The book's real power comes from Tallack's poet’s eye.”

– The New York Times Book Review

“A memoir remarkable for its intimacy, wisdom, and radiant prose. Tallack renders descriptions of his emotional landscape as delicately as his painterly descriptions of the physical world. An enthralling meditation on place.”

– Kirkus Reviews

“The history is captivating and adds context to each place visited. This book balances history, travel, and culture on an interesting path around the world.”

– Library Journal

“Examines the significance of place and what it means to belong. This is a book about belonging. Tallack is one of a burgeoning group of young travel writers who have reinvigorated the genre with elements of psychogeography: the study of how places make us feel.”

– Will Self, The Guardian

“A new kind of travel writing that emphasizes and explores the relationship between people and place.”

– Providence Journal

“A remarkable survey of cultures, climates and histories. [Tallack’s] writing is thoughtfully composed, beautiful and often surprising. An extended meditation on longing and belonging, on personal ties to place and on the particular nature of a certain band of earth and sea.”

– Shelf Awareness

“Throughout his travels, Tallack beautifully sketches a sort of emotional geography of place, a yearning to connect with communities and landscapes.”

– Dallas Morning News

“Lovely and evocative. A meditation on community, on humans’ relationship to the land, on what it means to belong to a place, on what makes a place truly a home.”

– Cleveland Plain Dealer

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