Fishing In Utopia | Granta

  • Published: 04/08/2011
  • ISBN: 9781847085672
  • Granta Books
  • 272 pages

Fishing In Utopia

Andrew Brown

From the 1960s to the 1980s, Sweden was an affluent, egalitarian country envied around the world. Refugees were welcomed, even misfit young Englishmen could find a place there. Andrew Brown spent part of his childhood in Sweden during the 1960s. In the 1970s he married a Swedish woman and worked in a timber mill while helping to raise their small son. Fishing became his passion and his escape. In the mid-1980s his marriage and the country fell apart. The Prime Minister was assassinated. The welfare system crumbled along with the industries that had supported it. Twenty years later, Andrew Brown travelled the length of Sweden in search of the country he had loved, and then hated, and now found he loved again.

Mr Brown's prose is as clear and bewitching as the lake waters which he learns to fish ... Readers who know the Nordic countries will delight in the author's keen ear and eye for the nuances of language, landscape and social customs

The Economist

... he is a deft writer with a real descriptive talent and a humorous touch ... this is an affectionate and insightful portrait, offering a much deeper understanding of the country than the usual, often politically motivated, tendency to stereotype

Financial Times

Fishing in Utopia is a lament for a lost Eden. But it is more than that. Essentially it is a story of modern rootlessness and the search for something to believe in. The fact that that something turns out, absurdly, to be fishing only makes it more tragic. I can see it becoming a cult book, and not just among anglers

Sunday Times

The Author

Andrew Brown writes for the Guardian and is the editor of their website on religious affairs. He also contributes to Prospect and the New Statesman and writes and presents Analysis programmes for BBC Radio 4. His books include Fishing in Utopia, The Darwin Wars and In the Beginning Was the Worm.

More about the author →

Andrew Brown on

Essays & Memoir | The Online Edition


Andrew Brown

Andrew Brown on Swedish society and the Trollhättan school attack.

Fiction | Granta 126

Off the Road

Andrew Brown

‘She acted as if her own desires magnetized the world, and when you were close to her, she magnetized your moral compass too.’

Essays & Memoir | Granta 126

In the Clearing

Andrew Brown

‘I asked where the path was to the rapids. He looked at me as if all his suspicions had been confirmed.’