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  • Published: 19 March 2019
  • ISBN: 9780241977705
  • Imprint: Penguin General UK
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 336
  • RRP: $30.00

The Old Man and the Sand Eel




The Old Man and the Sand Eel is a beautifully written memoir about fishing, family and the wilds of Great Britain

Growing up on the Cambridgeshire Fens, Will Millard never felt more at home than when he was out with his granddad on the riverbank whiling away the day catching fish. As he grew older his competitive urge to catch more and bigger fish led him away from that natural connection between him, his grandfather and the rivers of his home and into large commercial fisheries catching fish after fish. That is, until the fateful day he let a record-breaking sand eel slip through his fingers and he knew that he had lost the magic of those days down by the river, and that something had to change. Armed with his late grandfather's well-thumbed fishing encyclopaedia Will set out on a quest to get back to his roots and catch some of our great forgotten fish species, hidden deep in our lost waterways.
The Old Man and the Sand Eel is at its heart the story of three generations of men trying to figure out what it is to be a man, a father and a fisherman. It plots Will's scaly stepping stones back to his childhood innocence and late granddad, and a return to the importance of understanding the truly feral through a child's eyes, when anything was possible and the wild was everywhere.

  • Published: 19 March 2019
  • ISBN: 9780241977705
  • Imprint: Penguin General UK
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 336
  • RRP: $30.00

About the author

Will Millard

Will Millard is a British writer, jungle explorer and BBC presenter. He spent his twenties criss-crossing the forests of remotest West Papua in search of ancient tribal trade routes, before his solo descent of a West African river, and subsequent survival from cerebral malaria was made into an acclaimed series for BBC Radio 4.

Last year he lived alongside Aboriginal whale harpooners and subsistence-hunting sea-nomads as part of his maiden television series 'Hunters of the South Seas' for BBC Two. He writes regularly for Geographical, Outdoor Fitness, the Daily Telegraph and Vice magazine, and has taken his enthusiasm for adventure and the planet's most isolated peoples to audiences across the UK.

Praise for The Old Man and the Sand Eel

A wonderfully fluent account of how the strange magic of water and the beings that inhabit it can enchant and intoxicate

Chris Yates

[Will Millard] is a master wordsmith and his first book is a joyful testament to that

Isabelle Broom, Heat

[Will Millard] writes with a genuine sense of humility (...) humour and reflection

Kevin Parr, Countryfile

This is post-modern nature writing that embraces beauty where it finds it and marvels at nature's tenacity (...) But there's more here than just fish. This is also a book about growing up, about how to retain a connection with those who raised you while forging your own identity - what to keep and what to discard. And it's about men. The strong surges of emotion that both draw them together and keep them apart, and the shared pastimes which recognise that intimacy and meaning aren't always accompanied by words'

Olivia Edward, Geographical

The writing is sharp and clever (...) I loved all of it and would as happily read it again as I would sit beside the river waiting for the evening rise of trout to begin

Tom Fort, Literary Review

Delightful and informative (...) beautifully drawn (...)The Old Man and The Sand Eel will be enjoyed by anyone who loves the challenge and mystery of baiting a hook and plopping it into the water

Nicholas Shakespeare, The Spectator

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