A unique and radiant memoir about fatherhood and fly fishing.
Fishing was Mark Hume's passion since he was a young boy, a lifeline through a childhood marked by impermanence. When he became a father, he knew he wanted to pass on his love of fishing and the natural world to his daughters. Most of all, he wanted to give them hope for their future even as they were growing up during an ever-worsening climate crisis.
As soon as they were old enough, Mark taught his girls how to read the water and see the patterns in nature. He showed them how to cast, how to catch fish and release them, and – only when needed – how to kill them. He discovered that fly fishing and fatherhood require many of the same skills: patience, flexibility, and the knowledge of when to reel in and when to let go.
Illuminating and heartfelt, Reading the Water is a much-needed, positive story about a father raising daughters, and a meditation on finding faith in a deep connection with the natural world.
Mark Hume is an award-winning environmental journalist and author of four books, including the acclaimed River of the Angry Moon. He was formerly a national correspondent and columnist with the Globe and Mail, BC bureau chief for the National Post, and a senior correspondent with the Vancouver Sun. Based in Vancouver, he has fly fished in British Columbia for fifty years.
"An invigorating look at the power of the outdoors."
– Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"Hume captures the poignancy of having once grasped a natural world teeming with exquisite, if all too vulnerable and fleeting, abundance. A must read for anyone who loves nature and cares about the earth."
– Tara Neilson, author of Raised in Ruins
"A father shares the joys of fly-fishing with his daughters. In this eloquent memoir [...] [Mark] Hume vividly conveys the sensory details of their adventures and the stunning surroundings [...] A heartfelt, beautifully written celebration of the wonders of nature and comfort of family."
– Kirkus, Starred Review
"In the tradition of Roderick Haig-Brown, and with a clear lyricism reminiscent of Wallace Stegner, Hume writes passionately about his intense connection to wild fish and the waters that sustain them. Gorgeously imagined, told with humility and grace, Reading the Water is a meditation on what it means to be a son, a father, a man wading the deep currents of his own mortality."
– Kim Barnes, author of In the Wilderness: Coming of Age in Unknown Country, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize
"Lyrical, thoughtful [...] Reading the Water urges readers to appreciate the wild places around them and to work to preserve the beauty and diversity of rivers and the animals that inhabit them."
– Shelf Awareness
"An immensely profound look at how fly fishing has been 'a way of navigating life'-a joyous celebration of how it has mingled with the seasons, the rivers, and the author's close family. I loved Reading the Water."
– Nick Lyons, author of Spring Creek
"This is glorious [...] truly brilliant."
– Roy MacGregor, award-winning journalist and author of A Life in the Bush
"Reading this book I found myself feeling more hopeful [...] Not just about the environment, but importantly, about men as fathers."
– Sandy Shreve, author of Suddenly So Much and Waiting for the Albatross
"I have never gone fishing and probably never will. That matters not one bit when it comes to this memoir; I was hooked. It is a lyrical contemplation of life-beautifully written, smartly observed. It was like I was out there in nature with Mark and his family; I could almost feel the mountain air, the river water, as I drank in every word."
– Marsha Lederman, Western arts correspondent for the Globe and Mail
"We need more books like Mark Hume's Reading the Water. Potent, direct, imbued with humility and hope, this lovely story takes the pulse of the river and a man, yes, but most importantly of his unforgettable relationship with his daughters, which keeps his heart beating true."
– Chris Dombrowski, author of Body of Water