"A torrent of a book, its swirling deeps and dark backwaters lit with hard-won insight.” —Luke Jennings
“What a marvellous book The Catch is: a time-slipping, genre-shifting exploration of lives and landscapes, in which poetry, memoir and biography swirl and braid most beautifully together. Obsessive, passionate and deep-pooled, Wormald’s pursuit of Hughes becomes, over its course, unexpectedly and movingly personal.” —Robert Macfarlane
“Engaging and enlightening, a new and convincing key to Hughes’s extraordinary poetic gifts.” —Richard Beard
“A rare piece of work – modest, brilliant, moving. Quietly profound.” —Ian Sansom
It is in the midst of a swirling river, casting a line, that Mark Wormald meets Ted Hughes.
He stands where the poet stood, forty years ago, because fishing was Ted Hughes's way of breathing - and because the poet's writing has made Mark understand that it has always been his way of breathing, too.
Using Hughes's poetry collection River and his fishing diaries as a guide, Mark returns again and again to the rivers and lakes in Britain and Ireland where the poet fished. At times, he uses Ted's fly patterns; at others his rods. It is an obsession; a fundamental connection to nature; a thrilling wildness; an elemental pursuit. But it is also a release and a consolation, as Mark fishes after the sudden death of his mother and during the slow fading of his father.
A brilliant blend of memoir and biography, The Catch is a stunning meditation on poetry and nature, and a quiet reflection on what it means to be a father and a son.