“Like swimming through Alice’s Wonderland.” —Lynne Cox
A swimming journey would give me access to that part of our world which, like darkness, mist, woods or high mountains, still retains most mystery. It would afford me a different perspective on the rest of land-locked humanity.
A masterpiece of nature writing, Roger Deakin’s Waterlog is a fascinating and inspiring journey into the aquatic world that surrounds us.
In an attempt to discover his island nation from a new perspective, Roger Deakin embarks from his home in Suffolk to swim Britain—the seas, rivers, lakes, ponds, pools, streams, lochs, moats, and quarries. Through the watery capillary network that braids itself throughout the country, Deakin immerses himself in the natural habitats of fish, amphibians, mammals, and birds. And as he navigates towns, private property, and sometimes dangerous waters and inclement weather, Deakin finds himself in precarious situations: he’s detained by bailiffs in Winchester, intercepted by the coast guard at the mouth of a river, and mistaken for a dead body on a beach. The result of this surprising journey is a deep dive into modern Britain, especially its wild places.
With enchanting descriptions of natural landscapes, and a deep well of humanity, boundless humor, and unbridled joy, Deakin beckons us to wilder waters and inspires us to connect to the larger world in a most unexpected way. Thrilling, vivid, and lyrical, Waterlog is a fully immersive adventure—a remarkable personal quest, a bold assertion of the swimmer’s right to roam, and an unforgettable celebration of the magic of water.
About the Author
Roger Deakin was an English writer and celebrated environmentalist. Waterlog, the only book he published in his lifetime, became a UK bestseller, and founded the wild swimming movement. He also authored two other acclaimed works of nonfiction: Wildwood: A Journey Through Trees and Notes From Walnut Tree Farm. Deakin lived in Suffolk, England, and died there in 2006.
Bonnie Tsui is a journalist and the author of Why We Swim, a New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice, a TIME Magazine Must-Read Book of 2020, an NPR Best Book of 2020, and a Los Angeles Times and Boston Globe bestseller. It is currently being translated into six languages. Her first children's book, Sarah and the Big Wave, about the first woman to surf Mavericks, will be published in May 2021. She lives, swims, and surfs in the Bay Area.
Robert Macfarlane’s prize-winning and best-selling books include Mountains of the Mind, The Old Ways, Landmarks, and, with Jackie Morris, The Lost Words. He lives in Cambridge, England, where he is a Fellow of the University of Cambridge.
Roger Deakin is a latter-day Thoreau.
— Robert Macfarlane
Waterlog is an adventure, a meditation, a celebration of wild swimming—a delight. In this book, Roger Deakin has captured the magic of the liquid world.
— Susan Casey, author of The Wave
The foundational text for the international 'wild swimming' movement. . . . A beautifully written, loving tribute to the wonders found swimming in the wild outdoors.
— Kirkus, Starred Review
His prose is sensuous . . . and his sense of humor is as dry as his theme is wet.
— Rebecca Mead, The New Yorker
Roger Deakin is the perfect companion for an invigorating armchair swim. Engaging, thoughtful, and candid.
— The Telegraph
— Olivia Laing, The Guardian