Blood Knots: A Memoir of Fathers, Friendship, and Fishing

Blood Knots: A Memoir of Fathers, Friendship, and Fishing

by Luke Jennings
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Blood Knots is a brilliant and dramatic memoir of an angler’s life. It places Jennings in the front rank of natural history writers. As a child in the 1960s, he was fascinated by the rivers and lakes around his home. Beneath their surfaces waited alien and mysterious worlds. With library books as his guide, he applied himself to the task of learning to

Overview

Blood Knots is a brilliant and dramatic memoir of an angler’s life. It places Jennings in the front rank of natural history writers. As a child in the 1960s, he was fascinated by the rivers and lakes around his home. Beneath their surfaces waited alien and mysterious worlds. With library books as his guide, he applied himself to the task of learning to fish. His progress was slow, and for years, he caught nothing. But then a series of teachers presented themselves, including an inspirational young intelligence officer, from whom he learned stealth, deception, and the art of dry-fly fishing. So began an enlightening but often dark-shadowed journey of discovery. 

It would lead to bright streams and wild country, but would end with his mentor’s capture, torture, and execution by the IRA. Blood Knots is about angling, about great fish caught and lost, but it is also about friendship, honor, and coming of age. As an adult, Jennings has sought out lost and secretive waterways, probing waters at dead of night in search of giant pike. The quest, as always, is for more than the living quarry. For only by searching far beneath the surface, he suggests in this most moving and thought-provoking of memoirs, can you connect with your own deep history. Jennings offers here a striking, elegiac narrative for lovers of unique memoirs and the finest fly-fishing literature.

Editorial Reviews

Tom Brokaw

From the arresting title—Blood Knots—to the final word, Luke Jennings commands our awe and admiration with this unusually fine, wholly engaging memoir of that life affirming trinity—fathers, friendship, and fishing.

Jim Harrison
“Luke
Jennings' Blood Knots is a wondrous book. As a lifetime obsessive reader of angling literature I know whereof I speak. As an occasional writer of it I
am humbled indeed. In modern times Jennings is in the stratosphere of Roderick
Haig-Brown and Tom McGuane's rarified The Longest Silence. The prose is graceful and the treatment of material utterly fresh. I couldn't recommend it more highly.”
Howell Raines

Luke
Jennings has brilliantly described the full range of English angling, from drifting dry flies on the chalk streams of Sussex to chasing giant pike in the dark industrial waters of London. But this distinctive memoir is far more than a fishing book. In acuteness of observation and literary craft, this is autobiographical writing of the very highest order and a joy to read.

Michael Keaton

This is literature with that rare combination of the poetic and visceral. I can smell the air, the water. Beautiful. Some true set-the-book-down, gaze-out-your-window...ponder-that-last-beautiful-paragraph-you-just-read moments.

Carl Hiassen
Blood Knots is one of those small but enthralling surprises that lands

every now and then on a writer's desk. Like all great fishing books, it can be embraced with unabashed delight by readers who wouldn't know a trout from a truffle. . . . Special and magnetic.”

Stephen J. Bodio

Luke Jennings' Blood Knots is simply the best book with fishing in it since Norman MacLean's A River Runs Through It. It's that good!

Craig Nova
Blood Knots is one those books so surprising in its depth, its effect, its power as to leave a reader with a sense of an inability to convey just how intense and wonderful it is. But make no mistake. This is a book written from the heart, that acknowledges the mysteries in fishing, which,
as the author so gracefully manages to suggest, is a stand in and an expression for many other of the most powerful parts of being human.

And, on top of everything else, it is so keenly written as to make the beauty of the English language seem new”

Kirkus Reviews
The coming-of-age memoir of an avid angler, weighted with plenty of fishing detail and lore and tied with a filament of retrospective reverie. British novelist Jennings trolls for meaning in the ineffable mystique of fishing. In the canals of London or hidden ponds and streams of the countryside, this passionate philosopher of the fisherman's arts sends his line and engages his ratchet for pike, perch, trout, carp and any number of other fish. He seems to recall every line and fly in his kit, every cast and catch and every one that got away. He remembers those "tiny red worms downstream beneath a toothpick float cocked by a single dust-shot," and a "plain black wet fly with soft hen-hackles, something that would look like a drowning insect against the fading light." Jennings also analyses a great 1938 debate at the renowned Flyfishers Club. In addition to the general rod-and-reel concerns and the pervasive theology of ichthyology, the author offers warm memories of his childhood days building model airplanes, of prep school, of his father and of his first mentor in the Izaak Walton fraternity. The stories of his adventures are graceful and filled with verdant description; Jennings finds something numinous in nature and mystical in the waters in which he stood for hours. Though well executed, his is essentially an elegiac work of a special genre, designed to hook fellow enthusiasts. Readers who simply don't get it are not likely to bite. A fishing book that will appeal to initiates in the piscatorial arts (especially as practiced in the British Isles), but may be a bit tedious to others.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781616085872
Publisher:
Skyhorse Publishing
Publication date:
04/15/2012
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)

What People are saying about this

Howell Raines
Luke Jennings has brilliantly described the full range of English angling, from drifting dry flies on the chalk streams of Sussex to chasing giant pike in the dark industrial waters of London. But this distinctive memoir is far more than a fishing book. In acuteness of observation and literary craft, this is autobiographical writing of the very highest order and a joy to read.

Jim Harrison
Luke Jennings' Blood Knots is a wondrous book. As a lifetime obsessive reader of angling literature I know whereof I speak. As an occasional writer of it I am humbled indeed. In modern times Jennings is in the stratosphere of Roderick Haig-Brown and Tom McGuane's rarified The Longest Silence. The prose is graceful and the treatment of material utterly fresh. I couldn't recommend it more highly.
Tom Brokaw
From the arresting title—Blood Knots—to the final word, Luke Jennings commands our awe and admiration with this unusually fine, wholly engaging memoir of that life affirming trinity—fathers, friendship, and fishing.

Meet the Author

Luke Jennings is the author of three novels, including the
Booker Prize–longlisted Atlantic. His work has appeared in Vanity
Fair, the New Yorker, and Time. He is currently the dance critic for the Observer and lives in London.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >