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Virtual Book Talk: Meet the Author w/Patrik Svensson

Blue book cover with letters and eels
May 02
Literature
Virtual Book Talk: Meet the Author w/Patrik Svensson
May 02, 2021
10:00am - 11:00am PST

This "strange and nerdy book is making waves."—the New York Times

Remarkably little is known about the European eel, Anguilla anguilla. So little, in fact, that for centuries scientists and philosophers have been obsessed with what has become known as the “eel question”: Where do eels come from? What are they? Are they fish or some other kind of creature altogether? Even today, in an age of advanced science, no one has ever seen eels mating or giving birth, and we still don’t understand what drives them, after living for decades in freshwater, to swim great distances back to the ocean at the end of their lives. Eels remain a mystery.

Drawing on a breadth of research about eels in literature, history, and modern marine biology, as well as his own experience fishing for eels with his father, Patrik Svensson crafts a mesmerizing portrait of an unusual, utterly misunderstood, and completely captivating animal. In The Book of Eels, we meet renowned historical thinkers, from Aristotle to Sigmund Freud to Rachel Carson, for whom the eel was a singular obsession. And we meet the scientists who spearheaded the search for the eel’s point of origin, including Danish marine biologist Johannes Schmidt, who led research efforts in the early twentieth century, catching thousands upon thousands of eels, in the hopes of proving their birthing grounds in the Sargasso Sea.

Blending memoir and nature writing at its best, Svensson’s journey to understand the eel becomes an exploration of the human condition that delves into overarching issues about our roots and destiny, both as humans and as animals, and, ultimately, how to handle the biggest question of all: death. The result is a gripping and slippery narrative that will surprise and enchant.

Meet the Author is an intimate series of virtual book talks that introduces you to some of the best Nordic authors. With a wide range of topics and authors lined up, this is a series you don’t want to miss. Each talk is moderated by Dr. Elizabeth DeNoma and includes an opportunity to ask questions to the authors. This month's author is Patrik Svensson, author of The Book of Eels.

Cost: Free for Members; $5 general admission. 

About the author: 

Patrik Svensson was born in 1972 and lives in Malmö. The Book of Eels is his debut; the book has been sold to over thirty countries and praised by both the Swedish and international press. In 2019, it was awarded the August Prize in non-fiction; in the US, The Book of Eels has been selected by Publishers Weekly as one of the best books of 2020 and nominated for the Good Reads Choice Awards 2020 and the Carnegie Medal of Excellence 2021.

man against dark background looking into the camera

Photo by Erik Malmborg

Virtual Book Talk: Meet the Author w/Patrik Svensson
Country State

This "strange and nerdy book is making waves."—the New York Times

Remarkably little is known about the European eel, Anguilla anguilla. So little, in fact, that for centuries scientists and philosophers have been obsessed with what has become known as the “eel question”: Where do eels come from? What are they? Are they fish or some other kind of creature altogether? Even today, in an age of advanced science, no one has ever seen eels mating or giving birth, and we still don’t understand what drives them, after living for decades in freshwater, to swim great distances back to the ocean at the end of their lives. Eels remain a mystery.

Drawing on a breadth of research about eels in literature, history, and modern marine biology, as well as his own experience fishing for eels with his father, Patrik Svensson crafts a mesmerizing portrait of an unusual, utterly misunderstood, and completely captivating animal. In The Book of Eels, we meet renowned historical thinkers, from Aristotle to Sigmund Freud to Rachel Carson, for whom the eel was a singular obsession. And we meet the scientists who spearheaded the search for the eel’s point of origin, including Danish marine biologist Johannes Schmidt, who led research efforts in the early twentieth century, catching thousands upon thousands of eels, in the hopes of proving their birthing grounds in the Sargasso Sea.

Blending memoir and nature writing at its best, Svensson’s journey to understand the eel becomes an exploration of the human condition that delves into overarching issues about our roots and destiny, both as humans and as animals, and, ultimately, how to handle the biggest question of all: death. The result is a gripping and slippery narrative that will surprise and enchant.

Meet the Author is an intimate series of virtual book talks that introduces you to some of the best Nordic authors. With a wide range of topics and authors lined up, this is a series you don’t want to miss. Each talk is moderated by Dr. Elizabeth DeNoma and includes an opportunity to ask questions to the authors. This month's author is Patrik Svensson, author of The Book of Eels.

Cost: Free for Members; $5 general admission. 

About the author: 

Patrik Svensson was born in 1972 and lives in Malmö. The Book of Eels is his debut; the book has been sold to over thirty countries and praised by both the Swedish and international press. In 2019, it was awarded the August Prize in non-fiction; in the US, The Book of Eels has been selected by Publishers Weekly as one of the best books of 2020 and nominated for the Good Reads Choice Awards 2020 and the Carnegie Medal of Excellence 2021.

man against dark background looking into the camera

Photo by Erik Malmborg

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