The Gospel of the Eels

Patrik Svensson, Picador


The European eel is a scientific enigma. Born in the Sargasso Sea in the north-west Atlantic Ocean, the larvae make their way to the coasts of Europe where they travel up freshwater streams and make themselves a home. After 15 to 30 years, the adult eels make the arduous journey back to the Sargasso Sea to lay their eggs. This is about the sum of what scientists know about these secretive creatures, which undergo several transforma­tions during their lifetime.

Growing up, Swedish journalist Patrik Svensson spent many hours eel fishing with his father. In this natural science memoir, he not only examines his relationsh­ip with his late father, but also the history of this elusive eel and people’s attempts to understand it. If you enjoyed H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald, you’ll love this meditation on nature, life, and the father-andson bond, beautifull­y translated by Agnes Broomé.

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