'There have been dozens of book about the splendours of trout (I even wrote one myself), but seldom have I read one as evocative and concise as this . . . James Owen is a pacy, eclectic author, and clearly an aficionado . . . He has an eye for quirky detail (the illustrations are notably imaginative) and there was much here that was new to me . . . This is a perfectly delicious little volume, that surely raises the bar for subsequent piscine literature. I can scarcely recommend it highly enough.' --David Profumo, Country Life
'[a] wonderfully diverse monograph . . . Although scientifically sound throughout, the value of Trout lies as much in its sensitive account of the part these iconic fishes have played in the cultural history of mankind. Owen's effortless prose strides across continents, in the process beguiling us with a cast of characters which includes obscure saints, fly-fishing nuns, homesick empire-builders and a louche jazz singer, all united in their love for the most beautiful of fishes.' --Times Literary Supplement
'Dense with facts, anecdotes, potted histories and excellent photographs and illustrations . . . Owen's research has been rigorous and thorough . . . James Owen has done a wonderful job, in a short space, documenting how the trout has permeated human life.' --Trout and Salmon magazine
Leaping effortlessly from the bright stream into the human mind, the trout captivates like no other fish. An ancient fascination than can be traced back to Stone Age cave dwellers, the trout surfaces in our diet, religion, folklore, history, science, literature and, of course, fishermen’s tales.So why does the trout beguile us so? Taking myriad forms, the fish has a vitality and physical beauty many find irresistible, and it also brings to mind pure waters and wild places. These are the undercurrents to James Owen’s biography of the trout, which also showcases the animal as sacred fish, table fish, farmed fish, a fish of scientific investigation, of colonial conquest and middle-class aspiration and as a symbol in Western countries of our conflicted relationship with nature.In telling its story the author follows the trout around the world; starting in Europe and North America, he then embarks for exotic new territories with a voyage that took the creature from England to Australia in the nineteenth century. Along the way, the author encounters a cast of characters as diverse as the trout itself, from obscure British saints and flyfishing nuns, to visionary inventors, jazz singers and counterculture novelists – all united by this magical animal. Trout will delight and surprise anglers who have ever cast a fly to it, or anyone who has ever stopped to look in the water from a bridge, hoping for a tantalizing glimpse of this very special fish.