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The Old Man and the Sand Eel
The Old Man and the Sand Eel

The Old Man and the Sand Eel


336 Pages, 5 x 7.75

Formats: Trade Paper

Trade Paper, $18.95 (US $18.95)

Publication Date: June 2019

ISBN 9780241977705

Rights: US

Penguin Random House UK (Jun 2019)
Penguin UK

Price: $18.95


Growing up on the Cambridgeshire Fens, Will Millard never felt more at home than when he was out with his granddad on the riverbank, whiling away the day catching fish. As he grew older his competitive urge to catch more and bigger fish led him away from that natural connection between him, his grandfather, and the rivers of his home. That is, until the fateful day he let a record-breaking sand eel slip through his fingers and he knew that he had lost the magic of those days down by the river, and that something had to change.The Old Man and the Sand Eel is at its heart the story of three generations of men trying to figure out what it is to be a man, a father, and a fisherman. It plots Will's scaly stepping stones back to his childhood innocence, when anything was possible and the wild was everywhere.


"A wonderfully fluent account of how the strange magic of water and the beings that inhabit it can enchant and intoxicate." —Chris Yates

"[Will Millard] is a master wordsmith and his first book is a joyful testament to that." —Heat

"The writing is sharp and clever . . . I loved all of it and would as happily read it again as I would sit beside the river waiting for the evening rise of trout to begin." —Literary Review

"[Will Millard] writes with a genuine sense of humility . . . humour and reflection." —Countryfile

"This is post-modern nature writing that embraces beauty where it finds it and marvels at nature's tenacity . . . But there's more here than just fish. This is also a book about growing up, about how to retain a connection with those who raised you while forging your own identity—what to keep and what to discard. And it's about men. The strong surges of emotion that both draw them together and keep them apart, and the shared pastimes which recognise that intimacy and meaning aren't always accompanied by words." —Geographical

"Delightful and informative . . . beautifully drawn . . .The Old Man and The Sand Eel will be enjoyed by anyone who loves the challenge and mystery of baiting a hook and plopping it into the water." —Spectator

Author Biography

Will Millard is a British writer, explorer, and BBC presenter. Will spent his 20s criss-crossing the forests and remotest West Papua in search of ancient tribal trade routes, before his solo descent of a West African river, which became an acclaimed series for BBC Radio 4. In 2015 he lived alongside Aboriginal whale harpooners and subsistence-hunting sea-nomads as part of his maiden television series Hunters of the South Seas for BBC 2. He regularly writes for Geographical, Outdoor Fitness, the Daily Telegraph, and Vice magazine.