Vicki Hastrich takes the reader on a stunning voyage through her writer's life and across her chosen patch: the private byways of Brisbane Water, north of Sydney, where she has spent much of her life.
Hastrich fuses her intimate, loving knowledge of a tiny arena of Australia's natural world with the grand influence of ideas from throughout civilisation - from the baroque to the American Western, and artists as diverse as Zane Grey, Tiepolo and Goya - to create a truly original and deeply pleasurable collection.
Night Fishing unfolds as a series of expeditions or essays, undertaken in the spirit of the philosopher scientist. All the while, slowly, thoughtfully, Hastrich reveals the ordinary and remarkable detail of her life, from her childhood by the sea to her life as a camera operator for the ABC, as a historian and amateur marine biologist, and as a single woman exploring her small stretch of water.
The result is entirely new, entirely fresh and profoundly captivating. Night Fishing is a tonic for those of us who have forgotten how to slow down, how to look around, how to be part of our natural world. It will take its place alongside classics of observation and nature by David Malouf, Tim Winton and Annie Dillard.
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