Picador slips in to grab electric eel fishing memoir

Picador slips in to grab electric eel fishing memoir

A “spectacular” memoir exploring a father-son relationship through their mutual love of eel fishing is being snapped up around the world.

Ravi Mirchandani, associate publisher at Picador, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights to Patrik Svensson’s The Gospel of the Eels in a pre-empt from Elisabet Brännström at Bonnier Rights, who had offers from 20 markets in a two-week period. Deals were signed in the US (Ecco), Italy (Guanda), Spain (Libros del Asteroide) and Brazil (Intrinseca), with auctions for German, French, Polish, Czech, Serbian and Turkish rights ongoing.

The Gospel of the Eels is “a remarkable exploration of the relationship between a father and son and their shared passion for eel fishing, woven together with an account of the cultural, mythological and scientific life of the world’s most mysterious and enigmatic fish”, Brännström said. The title traces the development of humans’ fascination with fish, from Aristotle, to Freud, through to the present day.

Mirchandani said: “Patrik’s book is an elegy both to his late father and to the eel, a creature that faces extinction as it and its breeding grounds in the Sargasso Sea fall victim to climate change. Part popular-science, part memoir, part nature-writing, it is a unique and wonderful hybrid. I am delighted that we will be publishing it at Picador.” The list will publish the book in spring 2020.

Svensson writes for Swedish newspaper Sydsvenskan, but this is his first book. He said: “The Gospel of the Eels lies very close to my heart, naturally; [eels are] mysterious, magical fish that are about to go extinct—which would make the world a much bleaker place.”