Kings of the Yukon
Mr B's review
In the Yukon, the kings are the salmon. Their epic unfathomable journey up that mighty river intrigues Adam Weymouth enough to clamber into a canoe and paddle for four months from Northern Canada to the Alaskan Bering Sea coast, aiming to cross paths with the salmon as they leap their way upstream. En route to that meeting he paddles by historic gold-rush towns, describing the stunning scenery and the importance of the salmon to the local population (human and bear!)
**Winner of the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award 2018 and the Lonely Planet Adventure Travel Book of the Year 2019**
‘Weymouth combines acute political, personal and ecological understanding, with the most beautiful writing reminiscent of a young Robert Macfarlane. He is, I have no doubt, a significant voice for the future’ Andrew Holgate, Sunday Times literary editor
‘Adam Weymouth takes his place beside the great travel writers’ Susan Hill
A captivating, lyrical account of an epic voyage by canoe down the Yukon River.
The Yukon River is almost 2,000 miles long, flowing through Canada and Alaska to the Bering Sea. Setting out to explore one of the most ruggedly beautiful and remote regions of North America, Adam Weymouth journeyed by canoe on a four-month odyssey through this untrammelled wilderness, encountering the people who have lived there for generations. The Yukon’s inhabitants have long depended on the king salmon who each year migrate the entire river to reach their spawning grounds. Now the salmon numbers have dwindled, and the encroachment of the modern world has changed the way of life on the Yukon, perhaps for ever.
Weymouth’s searing portraits of these people and landscapes offer an elegiac glimpse of a disappearing world. Kings of the Yukon is an extraordinary adventure, told by a powerful new voice.
This book is an important contribution to our understanding of threatened ecosystems and what it means to be human on the edge of ecological catastrophe. I loved the sensitive but deeply powerful weave of pesca-poetry, knowledge and encounter that immersed me in the midst of the Yukon’s forces and left me subtly transformed — Miriam Darlington * author of Owl Sense * I thoroughly enjoyed traveling the length of the Yukon River with Adam Weymouth, discovering the essential connection between the salmon and the people who rely upon them. What a joy it is to be immersed in such a remote and wondrous landscape, and what a pleasure to be in the hands of such a gifted narrator — Nate Blakeslee * author of The Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West * An infatuated love letter to the river — Chris Fitch * Geographical * Beautiful, restrained, uncompromising. The narrative pulls you eagerly downstream roaring, chuckling and shimmering just like the mighty Yukon itself — Ben Rawlence * author of City of Thorns and Radio Congo * Adam Weymouth writes of the Yukon River, the salmon and the people, with language that flows and ripples like the water he describes. There may be a smoothness to the words, but pay attention, there are deep undercurrents here. You can hear the water dripping from his paddle between each stroke as he travels that river. It mingles with the voices of the many people he visits along its shores — Harold Johnson * author of Firewater: How Alcohol Is Killing My People (and Yours) * Shift over Pierre Berton and Farley Mowat. You, too, Robert Service. Set another place at the table for Adam Weymouth, who writes as powerfully and poetically about the Far North as any of the greats who went before him — Roy MacGregor * author of Original Highways: Travelling the Great Rivers of Canada * A moving, masterful portrait of a river, the people who live on its banks, and the salmon that connect their lives to the land. It is at once travelogue, natural history, and a meditation on the sort of wildness of which we are intrinsically a part. Adam Weymouth deftly illuminates the symbiosis between humans and the natural world – a relationship so ancient, complex, and mysterious that it just might save us — Kate Harris * author of Lands of Lost Borders * Adam Weymouth’s account of his canoe trip down the Yukon River is both stirring and heartbreaking. He ably describes a world that seems alternately untouched by human beings and teetering at the brink of ruin — David Owen * author of Where the Water Goes * An enthralling account of a literary and scientific quest. Adam Weymouth vividly conveys the raw grandeur and deep silences of the Yukon landscape, and endows his subject, the river’s King Salmon, with a melancholy nobility — Luke Jennings * author of Blood Knots and Atlantic * This is the best kind of travel writing. Weymouth embarks on an ambitious journey – 2,000 miles down the Yukon in a canoe – voyaging, listening and learning. An outstanding book — Rob Penn * author of The Man Who Made Things Out of Trees * Dazzling, often in unexpected ways, Adam Weymouth is a wonderful travel writer, nature writer, adventure writer – along the way, he is also a nuanced examiner of some of the world’s most fraught and urgent questions about the interconnectedness of people and the natural world. — Kamila Shamsie, author of ‘Home Fire’ [A] brilliant account of a summer spent paddling the 2,000-mile length of the Yukon River… Kings of the Yukon succeeds as an adventure tale, a natural history and a work of art. Its various threads of context and back story are woven seamlessly into the daily panorama of the river journey — Richard Adams Carey * Wall Street Journal * I was knocked sideways by this book and quite unexpectedly. Adam Weymouth takes his place beside the great travel writers like Chatwin, Thubron, Leigh Fermor, in one bound. But like their books this is about so much more than just travel. — Susan Hill An epic … Eloquent and tautly written — Tom Fort * Literary Review * [Weymouth’s] account … is so assured, so accomplished, that I found it hard to believe it was his first book … rich in characters, and beautifully written. — Michael Kerr, ‘The best Christmas books for travellers’ * The Telegraph * A rich and fascinating book … So vivid it reads like a thriller … I was hooked — Elisa Segrave * Spectator * Lyrical … The elegiac tone that fills Kings of the Yukon, the sorrow at the loss of culture and nature in the wilderness, is an unavoidable reflection of life in the 21st century — Richard Lea * Guardian * Weymouth combines acute political, personal and ecological understanding, with the most beautiful writing reminiscent of a young Robert Macfarlane . . . He is, I have no doubt, a significant voice for the future . . . a really outstanding new contemporary British voice . . . I’ve never seen such a strong and excited consensus among the judges for a winner. — Andrew Holgate, Sunday Times literary editor and judge of the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award 2018
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