'Deft, ambitious, tender and humane, Night Fishing is the most breathtakingly original memoir you will ever read. In this natural history of the author herself, we travel gently through childhood and family, grief, love and solitude - and her spellbinding twin obsessions with art and the natural world. It is the work of a questing, roving intellect and a rare humility, and Hastrich's sheer joy in language infuses the whole with a deliciously sly, intelligent humour. I'd liken her to an antipodean Annie Dillard with a fishing rod in one hand and the whole of western art history in the other - except there simply is no other writer like Hastrich. This book will tell you things you never knew about your world and yourself, and you will never forget it. Night Fishing is a masterpiece, and Vicki Hastrich is a world-class writer.' - Charlotte Wood, author of The Natural Way of Things 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.