TROUT - a cultural and natural history of trout
(illustrated with 100 photos and historic images)
Published by Reaktion Books, February 2012
Leaping seamlessly from the bright stream into the human mind, the trout fascinates like no other fish. An ancient passion traced back to Stone Age cave dwellers, the trout surfaces in our diet, religion, folklore, history, science, literature, and, of course, fishermen’s tales.
Taking myriad forms, the trout has a vitality and physical beauty many find irresistible, while its association with pure waters and wild places makes the trout ever more precious. These are the undercurrents to a biography of trout 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, James Owen follows the trout around the world, starting in Europe and North America, before embarking for exotic new territories with an incredible voyage that took the animal from England to Australia. Along the way, the author encounters a cast of characters as diverse as the trout itself, from obscure British saints and fly fishing nuns, to visionary inventors, jazz singers and counterculture novelists – all united by this magical fish.