This past month, I read Swedish author Patrik Svensson’s The Book of Eels: Our Enduring Fascination with the Most Mysterious Creature in the Natural World along with my fellow book club members. Strangely enough, not everyone in my book club thought it would literally be about eels. Well, it is and it was. In fact, Svensson has accomplished something I never thought I would say: He has written an enthralling, highly informative, and (dare I say) enticing book about the snake-like fish you (possibly/probably) find gross.
What makes the book so special is not just the facts about eels that will kinda/sorta blow your mind; it’s also the father-son story behind every chapter and the thought-provoking inclusion of, among other things, politics, philosophy religion, psychology, and literature. Or, as the publisher puts it: “Blending memoir and nature writing, Svensson’s journey to understand the eel becomes an exploration of the human condition that delves into overarching issues about our roots and destiny, both as humans and as animals, and, ultimately, how to handle the biggest question of all: death.”
Oh, and in case you were wondering, of the ten book club members who read this book, every single person gave it a thumbs-up, something we have done fewer times in fourteen years together than you can count on one hand.
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