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The Fish Ladder: Book summary and reviews of The Fish Ladder by Katharine Norbury

The Fish Ladder

A Journey Upstream

by Katharine Norbury

The Fish Ladder by Katharine Norbury X
The Fish Ladder by Katharine Norbury
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  • Published in USA  Aug 2015
    304 pages
    Genre: Biography/Memoir

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Book Summary

Katharine Norbury was abandoned as a baby in a Liverpool convent. Raised by a loving adoptive family, she grew into a wanderer, drawn by the landscape of the British countryside.

One summer, following the miscarriage of a much-longed-for child, Katharine sets out - accompanied by her nine-year-old daughter, Evie - with the idea of following a river from the sea to its source. The luminously observed landscape grounds the walkers, providing both a constant and a context to their expeditions. But what begins as a diversion from grief evolves into a journey to the source of life itself: a life threatening illness forces Katharine to seek a genetic medical history, and this new and unexpected path delivers her to the door of the woman who abandoned her all those years ago.

Combining travelogue, memoir, exquisite nature writing, and fragments of poems with tales from Celtic mythology, The Fish Ladder has a rare emotional resonance. It is a portrait of motherhood, of a literary marriage, a hymn to the adoptive family, but perhaps most of all it is an exploration of the extraordinary majesty of the natural world. Imbued with a keen and joyful intelligence, this original and life-affirming book is set to become a classic of its genre.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. A beautifully written book about a journey through wild places in the landscape and the heart." - Kirkus

"There are many moments of extraordinary synergy in this limpid, patiently meandering narrative, and Norbury manages to incorporate them in a natural, light-pedaling fashion. Her search for her biological mother, the sudden ill health of her beloved adopted mother, and Norbury's discovery of a tumor lodged deep in her own rib cage all shape an extraordinary and moving journey." - Publishers Weekly

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Author Information

Katharine Norbury

Katharine Norbury trained as a film editor with the BBC and worked extensively in television drama. She completed her M.A. in creative writing at University of East Anglia and is a doctoral candidate at Goldsmiths College. She lives in London. The Fish Ladder is her first book. Find her on Twitter at @kjnorbury.

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