For All Those Left Behind (Mainstream Publishing, 2002)
Nominated by Mathew Clayton.
This morning at 8am I walked through the unlovely 1960s estate where I live to catch the bus into Lewes. The sky was battleship grey and it looked like someone had strung a giant net curtain in front of the South Downs. It was cold – an unremarkable November day. The sort of day, I thought, that John Andrews would relish describing. I have just finished reading his wonderful fishing memoir, For all those left behind and it is packed full of beautiful descriptions of days when nature contrives to dull your senses rather than inflame them. Days like this: ‘We packed up our gear slowly, slower than we realised, arms and hands numb, our minds slurred like vodka waiting to freeze’.
On the surface it is a book about John’s rediscovery of his boyhood love of fishing, the undercurrent is the loss of a parent but what really draws you through is the language and the way it expresses the unspoken sensory connections we have to our landscape. To be read in front of a blazing fire. This is the opposite of a beach read.
The Caught by the River Nature Book Reader can be found and read here. It’s been a little neglected of late but updates will resume in the new year.
For All Those Left Behind can be bought from the Caught by the River bookshelf at Rough Trade East, priced £12.99
Happy Birthday John!