This is an interview by OPB’s Dave Miller with Henry Hughes discussing his recent memoir Back Seat with Fish.
Back Seat with Fish is unlike any memoir you’ve ever read. Traveling across East Asia—from Beijing to Bangkok—as well as throughout the United States, Hughes shares stories of the fish he’s caught and the people he’s met.
The book is available on Amazon.
Read an excerpt from Back Seat with Fish: A Man’s Adventures in Angling and Romance, Henry’s memoir, in Harvard Review Online.
Back Seat with Fish
Back Seat with Fish: A Man’s Adventures in Angling and Romance is unlike any memoir you’ve ever read. Among the hundreds of published angling stories, none so deeply sound the sensual pleasures and tensions of human and piscine life as they emerge from the bedroom and riverbank. From flounder and first dates off working class Long Island, into the wide waters of Indiana, South Dakota, Oregon and all across Asia, Back Seat with Fish offers a wild and wonderful ride.
Drawing on his knowledge of literature, geography, and natural history, Hughes guides us through the watery world, sharing stories of the fish he’s caught and the characters he’s met. Here are tales of bass and bluefish, paddlefish and fugu, sharks and snakeheads, as well as exchanges with a variety of people, including a Sioux Indian friend from South Dakota, an elderly African American on the Mississippi, and his waterside companions in Japan, China, and Southeast Asia.
Fishing is a sport that crosses boundaries of race, ethnicity, gender, and class. In his travels, Hughes learns lessons on these issues as he interacts with people who share and sometimes challenge his love for fishing and eating fish. But this salty journey isn’t just for people who cast lines or love nature and travel. Back Seat with Fish is for anyone who enjoys a good story.
Available on Amazon.
Read Henry’s review of Wayne Harrison’s new novel The Spark and the Drive in Harvard Review Online.
“Coming to That is the perfect fulfillment of an artistic life—to live very long and deliberately, to maintain a sharp mind and serviceable body, soaking up a multitude of paintings, films, plays, ballets, operas, books, songs, poems (and, yes, champagne) and bringing it to bear on one’s creative endeavors, right to the very end and into the future.”
3 Good Books invites writers & artists to share their favorite books on a given theme.
“There are dozens of good books involving sport fishing, and many of our greatest authors have found in fishing some of life’s happiest and most painful moments,” notes Hughes, who admits difficulty in narrowing his favorite books on fishing. “Chekhov, Yeats, Ted Hughes, Hemingway, Raymond Carver, Annie Proulx, to name but a few, loved to fish and write about it. Among those essayists who write specifically about fishing, I count David James Duncan, Ted Leeson, Marjorie Sandor, and Thomas McGuane as the best.”
Kirk Deeter reviews Fishing Stories in the Summer 2013 issue of Angling Trade.
“It may, in fact be the most compelling collection of stories on fishing that I’ve ever read. It’s an outstanding mosaic of fishing literature, clearly, carefully selected by editor Henry Hughes…”
Christopher Camuto reviews The Art of Angling in the July, 2012, issue of Gray’s Sporting Journal.
This Everyman Library’s Pocket edition, edited by Henry Hughes, is a warm, witty, and wise collection of excellent verse in which some aspect of the angling passion, or some brooding over rivers, arises and plays itself out.