Eels: An Exploration, from New Zealand to the Sargasso, of the World's Most Mysterious Fish

( 5 )

Overview

They spawn in the middle of the ocean but spend their adult lives in freshwater. They can overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles and even cross over land. They are revered as guardians and monster-seducers by New Zealand’s Maori, yet are often viewed with disgust in the West. They are a multibillion-dollar business in the Asian food market. They are often mistaken for snakes. They are eels—one of the world’s most amazing and least understood fish. (Yes, fish.)

James Prosek ...

See more details below
Paperback (Reprint)
$12.07
BN.com price
(Save 19%)$14.99 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (19) from $2.10   
  • New (10) from $4.14   
  • Used (9) from $2.10   
Eels: An Exploration, from New Zealand to the Sargasso, of the World's Most Mysterious Fish

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$10.99
BN.com price

Overview

They spawn in the middle of the ocean but spend their adult lives in freshwater. They can overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles and even cross over land. They are revered as guardians and monster-seducers by New Zealand’s Maori, yet are often viewed with disgust in the West. They are a multibillion-dollar business in the Asian food market. They are often mistaken for snakes. They are eels—one of the world’s most amazing and least understood fish. (Yes, fish.)

James Prosek offers a fascinating tour through the life history and cultural associations of the freshwater eel, exploring its biology, its myth and lore, its mystery and beauty. Eels is a mesmerizing biography of an intriguing and mysterious creature, as well as a telling look at humanity, the will to persist, and the ever-changing relationship between man and the natural world.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Los Angeles Times
“Prosek has a talent for observation. . . . He finds the beauty in things, the hook, the reason why they get to us, why they lodge in our subconscious. . . . Yes, it’s a book about eels — but it’s the stuff of dreams, and it’s all true.”
The Economist
“A comprehensive and appreciative study of one of the world’s most mysterious creatures. . . . [Prosek] has collected anguilline myths, lore and recipes from all over the world”
New Scientist
“Enthralling. . . . The eel’s story is remarkable, and so are Prosek’s tales of eel people.”
Booklist
“The tale of Ray Turner, a man who still fishes for eels the traditional way with a hand-built weir, is at the heart of the book, tying the mythology, the mystery, and the commerce of eels together into his story.”
New York Times Book Review
Eels [is] more than a fish book. It is an impassioned defense of nature itself... In Eels, he passes on the truth that the often disdained eel, like all migratory fish, is vital and mysterious and worthy of our full effort to bring it back.”
Washington Post
“Entertaining. . . . Prosek’s writing is fluid and relaxed”
Peter Matthiessen
“A wonderful account of far-flung travels in pursuit of the secrets of the earth’s most mysterious fish. . . . Fascinating and beautifully rendered.”
Thomas McGuane
“This is a delightful work with the urgency of a good detective story.”
Bernd Heinrich
“I loved it! A beautiful adventure story of one of the most wide-spread and least-known but ecologically important fish.”
Peter Matthiessen
“A wonderful account of far-flung travels in pursuit of the secrets of the earth’s most mysterious fish. . . . Fascinating and beautifully rendered.”
Paul Greenberg
Prosek has made his reputation as a kind of underwater Audubon. His trout watercolors…bear those particular, exciting hues that still-living fish possess…As Eels demonstrates, Prosek is every bit as good a writer as a painter. Perhaps this is because both his art and writing draw their inspiration from a similar challenge: to express the ineffable, fading aspect of the natural world in the industrialized era, the feeling of bright colors slipping through your fingers. It is this quality that makes Eels much more than a fish book. It is an impassioned defense of nature itself, rescued from the tired rhetoric of 1970s-style environmentalism by good, honest shoe-leather reporting.
—The New York Times
Mark Berman
If you consider the eel only when you're ordering in a sushi joint, you might not think the creature warrants an entire book. James Prosek's breezy and entertaining Eels, devoted to the slimy, snake-like freshwater fish that spawns in the ocean, proves otherwise. It's less an exhaustive scientific examination than part travelogue, part cultural examination and part scientific exploration…Prosek's writing is fluid and relaxed, exploring how different people approach eels rather than overwhelming us with data or recipes.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Ask your average North American: eels, those slimy snakelike creatures, are generally held in poor regard. For nature writer Prosek (Trout; Fly-Fishing the 41st), however, they are a compelling mystery, and in his riveting synthesis of cultural, geographical, and botanical sleuthing, he investigates their reputation at home and abroad. The author--for whom the eel was once merely bait for bass--delves into the closely held traditions of the Maori of New Zealand, where eels are revered; into the beliefs of the Micronesian island of Pohnpei, where eels are considered members of a tribal clan; into the heart of the largest seafood market in the world, in Japan, a nation that consumes more than 130,000 tons of eels each year; into the reclusive world of Eel Weir Hollow in the Catskills, where fisherman Ray traps and smokes as much as one ton of eels a season; and to the fabled Sargasso Sea, where eels are thought to start their trek to the world's lakes, rivers, and streams--though, even now, no one knows precisely where the world's population of eels spawns, an enduring scientific mystery awaiting a solution. (Nov..)
Kirkus Reviews

Prosek (Bird, Butterfly, Eel, 2009, etc.) seeks to get a grip on that slippery creature, the eel.

Eels can grow as big as pythons and routinely do in the western Pacific, and they are slimy and can inflict a wicked bite. Their association with the snake often stirs unease, but not in the author, who has fallen under the eel's spell—not unlike that experienced in the cultures and cosmologies of the Maori of New Zealand, the Chinese and Japanese and the people on the Pacific island of Pohnpei, Micronesia. Though Prosek doesn't neglect the natural history of the eel, so little is known about its lifeways that he concentrates more on the symbolic powers of the giant freshwater eel. These accounts offer glimpses into the faith and traditions of frequently mysterious cultures, yet some Maoris and Pohnpeians recognized in the author a sympathetic soul, unlike those of the colonizing Europeans who nearly eradicated the Maori, as well as their eel as a icon. Prosek understands that in retelling these stories he offers only a glimmering of the eels' customary complexity and ambiguity, but he does well in interweaving the mythological and the personal. The author is also a diligent natural historian, keen to the greater landscape. He vividly evokes a bleached-white coral path reflecting the moonlight on Pohnpei, and an eel catcher on the Delaware River, "with his long beard, the hills of the Catskills and the rusty yellow foliage of the beech trees behind him...looked like an old Russian bush guide making his way up the Amur." Prosek provides plenty of fun facts, as well—the Borgias may have used eel-blood poison on their enemies, and "the astronomer Montanari believed that an eel's liver facilitated delivery in childbirth."

A warm, enrapturing paean to the totemic potency of eels.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060566128
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/11/2011
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 788,352
  • Product dimensions: 5.28 (w) x 8.04 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Meet the Author

James Prosek is a writer and artist. Dubbed “the Audubon of the fishing world” by the New York Times, his books include Trout, The Complete Angler, and Fly-Fishing the 41st. He lives in Easton, Connecticut.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 5 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(3)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(1)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2013

    Stalker

    Hi

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2013

    More about the author than eels

    This book is largely a transcript and diary of how he collected the information to write about eels instead of a book on eels. Sentimental, badly written and poorly editted, dull, and with little scientific value.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    A wonderfully written piece about a most mysterious fish!

    When reading this you won't be able to put it down! A very readable mixture of science,cultural folklore, and plain human inquisitiveness in search of one nature's few catadromous fish. To quote the book,"The eel is timeless and vital, a metaphor for the resilience of life itself....If we lose those creatures that form the foundation of our spiritual system, if we lose those things that inspire us to be spiritual at all, then we will be lost." A must read for the nature lover in all of us.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)