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Blood Knots (No. 63)
  • ISBN: 9781910898819
  • Pages: 224
  • Dimensions: 170 x 110 mm
  • Publication date: 1 June 2023
  • Producer: Smith Settle
  • Genre: Memoir
  • Binding: Cloth hardback
  • Trimmings: Coloured endpapers; silk ribbon, head- & tailband; gold blocking to spine; blind blocking to front
  • NB: Hand-numbered limited edition of 2,000
  • Preface: Christian Tyler
  • Number in SFE series: 63
Made in Britain

Blood Knots (No. 63)

Of Fathers, Friendship & Fishing

Luke Jennings
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‘I’m out of the underpass now . . . In front of me is a long oblong of water, perhaps twenty feet across. Its surface rocks like molten copper. As I lower my gear to the paving stones, the cold immediately begins to fold around me. This is the place.’

Late at night, in the dark and dangerous no man’s land behind King’s Cross railway station, Luke Jennings is preparing to cast his line. At this spot in the murky waters of the Regent’s Canal he senses the presence of the pike that live among the catacomb of old bikes, shopping trolleys and other detritus at the canal bottom.

Even as a child in the 1960s, Luke Jennings was dazzled by the beauty of fish and fascinated by the rivers and lakes around his Sussex home. In Blood Knots he describes how his passion for fly-fishing gradually took hold, with the help of books from the library and the encouragement of his two boyhood heroes – his father, who had been awarded the Military Cross for bravery in the Second World War, in which he had been badly burnt, and Robert Nairac, a charismatic figure who first befriended him as a teacher at his prep school.

To fishermen, a ‘blood knot’ is a common method of attaching one line to another, but here it also stands for the ties of family and friendship. Jennings’s beautiful and original memoir is not only the story of his angling life but also a wonderfully humorous account of his schooldays and a tribute to the memory of his two extraordinary heroes. As one might expect from a writer who, among other things, has been the dance critic of the Observer and is the author of the Killing Eve novels (which were adapted into the BAFTA-winning BBC TV series of the same name), these two themes of fishing and friendship are woven together to produce a book of unusual subtlety that’s about a great deal more than fishing. Blood Knots is an enchanting read.

Blood Knots beautifully evokes the landscape and lore of a post-war rural childhood.’ Andrew Motion

‘It is a story of the sudden choices men face . . . Hours of wit, beauty and reflection.’ Observer

‘A book of personal reflection. Jennings’s memoir sparkles like a dark trout stream in sunlight.’ The Times

‘An exquisitely written memoir . . . springing from a tradition of memoir writing deeply rooted in the natural world.’ Daily Telegraph



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Because they live on an island laced with rivers, ponds and streams, the British are obsessive anglers. Fishermen – and most of them are men – make up a large but secretive society cut off from...

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