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Night Fishing: Stingrays, Goya and the Singular Life

Night Fishing: Stingrays, Goya and the Singular Life
Vicki Hastrich
Allen&Unwin, 2019

In a summer of catastrophic bushfires, devastating loss of life, and relentless political slyness Vicki Hastrich’s Night Fishing: Stingrays, Goya and the Singular Life is a book of solace.

Its 13 essays offer us the space to look more closely at nature and linger peacefully; the opportunity to celebrate the coast, water and creativity; the chance to disconnect from our online lives with their bombardment of bad news and apocalyptic images.

Hastrich was once a camera operator for the ABC and her roving eye guides us gently back to her childhood via the waterways of the Brisbane Water estuary, near Woy Woy on the NSW central coast. We dream with her, fish with her, grieve with her as she examines her life, her writing and the environment – stitching her localised reflections seamlessly to a wider world of art and philosophical thought.

In “From the Deep it Comes” Hastrich mourns the fact that there are almost no hidden places left in the natural world to discover, “though our requirement for the wonder they furnish goes undiminished”.

These private recesses help us survive and to create, she says. They are also where “present experience mixes with memory, and associations knit”.

Luckily Hastrich has a bolthole, and shared its bounty with us.

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books@ssh.com.au

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