The Pull of the River: A Journey into the Wild and Watery Heart of Britain Hardcover – 5 Apr 2018
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“Engaging and beautifully written ... Gaw’s nature writing scintillates” – The Countryman
“It’s just glorious … a marvellous book … it really put me in a good mood” – Georgey Spanswick, BBC Radio
“Beautifully written and highly engaging … it cries out with a message from its pages – a message that life is an adventure and, if you have the physical capacity to do so, it’s best spent out of that armchair – outdoors, active and immersed in nature” – East Anglian Daily Times
“Just started this and already have a hankering for a canoe and a long weekend on the river…" – EspressoCoco book blog
“Seen from the water, Britain's familiar landscapes are made mesmerisingly new. The Pull of the River is a hugely satisfying work of exploration and reclamation, and one that will have you itching to cast off on your own riparian adventure” – Melissa Harrison, author of Rain: Four Walks in English Weather
“Following in the long and distinguished tradition of The Wind in the Willows and Three Men in a Boat, Matt Gaw spends his time ‘messing about in boats’. In doing so, he entertains not only himself but us, in this delightful account of exploring the wonder of our waterways” -- Stephen Moss, author and naturalist
“A Lark for the soul” – Paul Evans, author of Field Notes from the Edge
“Gaw is an excellent writer … [his] spirited book will encourage others to seek out such waterways, and to appreciate the importance of conserving them” – Nancy Campbell, Times Literary Supplement
“A joyful and beautifully written account … if it doesn’t make you want to pick up a paddle and head to your nearest river, you’re reading it wrong” – Waterways World magazine
“A really enjoyable book, written with humour, a wry wit and a keen eye … his research of the rivers uncovers those nuggets of information of the historical and cultural terrain that overlays the rivers and that makes this a much richer read as they paddle along. I also found it refreshing as Gaw brings no personal baggage to his watery voyages; it is just him and his friend taking the time to immerse themselves in the natural world, sleeping out under the stars and rediscovering a place where time moves at a very different rate to modern life; a world that few people see now days” – Half Man, Half Book
“Jolly yet reflective … I’m rooting for this to make next year’s Wainwright Prize Longlist” – BookishBeck
“Rather wonderful … An engaging travelogue of taking the slow route across England’s inland waterways in a Canadian canoe belonging to an old friend” - Gather Outdoors blog for Adventurous Ink
About the Author
Matt Gaw is a writer, journalist and naturalist who lives in Bury St Edmunds. His work has been published in the Guardian, the Telegraph and the Times. He works with the Suffolk Wildlife Trusts, edits Suffolk Wildlife, currently writes a monthly country diary for the Suffolk Magazine and is a director of the Suffolk Festival of Ideas. This is his first book.
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As the journey progresses, Gaw discovers that the new perspective - seeing the land from the water, and interpreting it from this angle - lends him 'a keener appreciation of the rhythms and pulses of what's around (him).' The account of the canoeing trips takes in not only land and water, but also acute observations of the inter-relations of birds, animals, fish, plants, trees, and, of course, human beings.
Gaw's concern with what man has done to the natural world and what the natural world has to offer man, places him in the first rank of contemporary nature writers. This book deserves to be read again and again, and the understanding of the world that it contains to be thought over, discussed, and treasured to the benefit of all concerned.
Due to this book four of us are now going to camp and paddle down the Thames for two weeks this summer.
Beautifully written and very inspiring - read it!
There is one particular incident (which I won't spoil) where the author describes being overawed by the scale and power of the natural world which reminded me very strongly of an experience of my own. I had walked to a very high and very remote lochan above Applecross in Wester Ross with the intention of fishing it. On getting there the beauty was so raw and powerful I almost felt intimidated and actually felt uncomfortable fishing, so I headed back down to seek the comfort of the more prosaic and familiar!
However, more than anything, this is a totally entertaining read from the first page to the last. Well done Matt Gaw and thank you!