A River Runs Through Me by Andrew Douglas-Home

3 out of 5 stars

A copy of this was provided free of charge from the publisher in return for an honest review.

It has been a long time since I fished but the last time I did so was on the shores of Loch Lochy. Didn’t catch a huge amount, but we did have to odd success. It never really caught (sorry) my attention enough to carry on, but I can see why some people fall for it.

Andrew Douglas-Home has been in a fortunate enough position to have been able to fish some of Scotland’s best salmon rivers, in particular the Tweed. He would spend all day fishing as a child from the land that his father owned. When not fishing there, he would be able to cast his line at other places around Scotland that other family members owned. He did take it all for granted, especially the fish that he could land back in the 1960s in numbers that have never really been seen since.

This book is a series of short essays about his life spent fishing in all manner of places, but primarily on the rivers of Scotland. Woven into these short stories of a life spent thigh-deep in water is a glimpse into his family life from a child who would visit 10 Downing Street to see his uncle who just happened to be Prime Minister at the time. We learn a little about his wife and sons including the tragic loss of one of them as well as some of the insights that he has learnt from life.

He comes across as a good custodian of the land that he owns. There are a number of essays about the decline of the salmon and wildlife in general and has come to realise that the things that we have been doing to the environment are having a huge effect on the livelihood of the salmon. Some of his points made sense, but I did completely disagree with him about the introduction of beavers.

I quite liked this overall. He is not too bad an author and this is a fairly easy read. He is in a very privileged position, he knows it but does try to play it down in the prose. I think that he is slightly obsessed with his chosen sport. If you are not heavily into fishing with a sprinkling of hunting then this might not be for you.

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  1. Jackie Law

    Benjamin Myers short story, A Stone Statue In The Future, made me think about fishing in a new light. I assume you’ve read it?

    • Paul

      I have a copy (somewhere) but I have not read it yet.

      • Jackie Law

        Treat yourself. It is short but memorable.

        • Paul

          I must!

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