Matt Rigney's In Pursuit Of Giants brought something out of me that I wasn't quite expecting; a love for fishing. The reason that was unexpected was due to the fact that while I was around fishing all of my childhood I never learned to enjoy it. Actually, that's not true, because the act of fishing itself is quite relaxing and is a wonderful way to spend the day with your father.
For that reason alone I always wanted to love fishing, but I hated it because I could never bear to harm a fish. I know how hypocritical that is because I will always be the first one there when fish is on the table, but it always seemed cruel to me the way a fish would end its life on the end of a hook. Maybe that was just me and squeamishness, but it always seemed too much to bear as a child, which is why I would often fish with an un-baited hook in the hopes of never catching anything.
I hate fishing, you see, but I lived for spending hours on the water in a small boat with only my father and I in the middle of what seemed like nowhere.
My father, though, loved it. He loved everything, from the moment of planning a trip right down to the moment of pride he felt as he guided his boat perfectly onto the trailer so we could begin our trip home. And the fish themselves. . .my god how that man loved fish. He would hold the fish in his hands after unhooking it and just watch the sunlight glimmer like diamonds on the skin and scales of each bass or trout caught.
The love that Matt Rigney shows for fish, especially of the giant fish and true marvels of the water, in the pages of In Pursuit of Giants reminds me of my father in that sense. You can feel it through the ink of every page.
That love, however, is in danger. That is also something you can viscerally feel through the heft and seriousness of the book itself. All the while luring you in with a very tangible affection and sense of wonder for the creatures of the sea - especially those at the very apex of the "fish" family — Rigney drops the second shoe of knowledge that as a species we have drastically and perhaps permanently changed the sea and endangered the very existence of these creatures.