Love Madness Fishing by Dexter Petley

As heard on BBC Radio 4’s Natural Histories

“a masterpiece” FALLON’S ANGLER

“a spell-binding rollercoaster of a book” DAVID PROFUMO

The extraordinary memoir of growing up poor on the Kent-Sussex border in the 1960s and 70s. Peopled with vivid and earthy characters, this is an autobiography to be compared to Laurie Lee and H E Bates.

Author: Dexter Petley

Published: April 2016

SKU: LOVEMADFISH Categories: , Tags: ,


19 in stock (can be backordered)

Carp fishing in Normandy with the writer / angler and legend of this parish, Dexter Petley. Listen and learn. Produced by Tim Dee.

Soon after Dexter Petley began writing down his observations of people on the borders of rural Kent and Sussex during the 1960s and 70s he realised that his stories were acquiring a broader significance.

Between the riverbank where he taught himself to fish and the secondary modern where gardening and small-holding were on the curriculum, he witnessed the lives of a demobbed generation who were still adjusting to life in post-war Britain, surviving hand to mouth, eking out a living mending cars, recycling scrap metal or hop-picking. This fractured landscape, carried like an heirloom since boyhood, has allowed Petley to untangle the fragments of his own life, from the loss of his first love to the nomadic existence he has been living ever since, in London, Africa and France.

Here is an unsentimental memoir of exceptional quality. Reminiscent of Laurie Lee and H E Bates, each chapter is peopled with vivid and earthy characters who gravitate around the ponds and rivers that flowed through Dexter Petley’s life.

Read on BBC Radio 4.

“…this is a spell-binding rollercoaster of a book, suffused with elemental vigour and reluctant poignancy.” David Profumo, Country Life, June 2016

“…Love, Madness, Fishing reads like the b*****d child of Swift’s Last Orders and Dickens’ Great Expectations found abandoned in the rain by the side of the A21 and picked up by a passing van driver with a penchant for the poetry of Billy Childish whose public bar party trick is to eat his pint glass at closing time.” John Andrews, Caught By the River.

Our edition has a cover by the celebrated artist Michael Kirkman, who also illustrated our monograph of Richard Skelton’s Beyond the Fell Wall.

Additional information

Weight350 g
Dimensions14 × 156 × 216 mm


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