The Fisherman

By John Langan,

Book cover of The Fisherman

Book description

In upstate New York, in the woods around Woodstock, Dutchman's Creek flows out of the Ashokan Reservoir. Steep-banked, fast-moving, it offers the promise of fine fishing, and of something more, a possibility too fantastic to be true. When Abe and Dan, two widowers who have found solace in each other's…

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Why read it?

5 authors picked The Fisherman as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I loved this book so much that I lost sleep while reading it. Like the main character, Abe, I feel most at peace while I’m near water. Abe uses fishing to fill a void after his wife dies. I use it to cleanse my thoughts; it can get a bit busy in my head sometimes.

The book is about loss, healthy and unhealthy choices, friendship, betrayal, and scary monsters. It includes four of my favourite things: engaging characters, beautiful writing, water, and horror.

Horror is my comfort blanket, and this book is full to the brim with it; lots and…

Grief makes people do strange things. When Abe loses his wife to cancer, he turns to fishing for comfort.

He is joined by an acquaintance at work whose family died in a car crash. What begins as a casual expedition turns into something darker when the men meet a local at a diner, who tells them an amazing story about Dutchman’s Creek. What follows is a chilling story within a story that haunted me long after I finished the book.

The Fisherman is an intimate tale that asks a critical question. How far are you willing to go to get…

Langan’s novel is gripping from the start, and weaves a beautifully tangled web of stories-within-stories.

But it’s in the novel’s conclusion, where the whole universe breaks open, that it becomes truly jaw-dropping. After I finished reading it, I was thinking not only about the book I had just read – but about what it implied about the universe, and my place in it.

From Brandon's list on horror and religion.

John Langan is renowned for turning horror on its head, picking apart its hoariest tropes, and reassembling them in fascinating new forms. The Fisherman is his most complete single work, massive in its scope if not its page count, and filled with imagery that sticks its barbs into your imagination and will not let go. It’s also poignant and always sensitive to the human emotions of its protagonists—even face to face with monsters. It’s the sort of story whose core conception becomes part of your mental framework, like Mordor or Gormenghast—read once, never forgotten. 

From Paul's list on modern Lovecraftian horror.

This book tells a small, human story of grief and loss, set in a cleverly nested series of reveals about the horror of the history of a particular area. What I loved most about this book was the grandness and scale of the eldritch creatures that the characters face (at different times, with different weapons, and with varied ideas of what on earth is going on)--this felt truly cosmic to me, a real look into the abyss. I also loved how the horrors were presented in the mind as well as the world, which constantly kept me on my toes.

From Premee's list on modern cosmic horror.

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