In Pursuit of Giants is the adventure narrative of author Matt Rigney's five-year, 75,000-mile round-the-world journey to encounter the great fish of the sea--marlin, bluefin tuna, and swordfish--and tell the story of their decline--in some areas, by up to 70% or more. The book covers his travels to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; Georges Bank off of Nova Scotia; Tokyo and Oma, Japan; the Great Barrier Reef, Australia; 200 miles offshore of New Zealand, and with Greenpeace in the Mediterranean.
In Pursuit of Giants combines the romance of a great sport narrative with the passionate advocacy of the best environmental writing. It recalls the spiritual power of Peter Matthiessen’s The Snow Leopard and will win comparisons to Mark Kurlansky’s Cod.
Reviews: . . .”In Pursuit of Giants” is suffused with a passion for these great pelagic creatures. Muscular and lyrical by turns, Mr. Rigney’s prose deftly captures the wildness of the sea—the deep gleam of a shoal turning suddenly in the sunlight, the birdlike head of a striped marlin, spawning tuna 'blazing their milky contrails.' Each section reads like a short story. Thumbnail character sketches abound, with the odd salty joke thrown in.” David Profumo, ‘Losing the Big Game,’ in The Wall Street Journal
". . . Rigney provides a glorious read in his examination of sportfishing and the imperiled state of ocean life. The vivid immediacy of this call to action ranges from majestic descriptions of a marlin’s oceanic journey and a Japanese fisherman’s outrage at government-industry collusion to fishing fleets’ devastation of marine life. Arguing that the extinction of much ocean life is highly possible within decades, Rigney’s passionate advocacy of conservationist ethics is imbued with direct experience and eschews simplistic bromides. As he claims that sportfishers can help sustain an economy and act as a pro-conservation force, he notes that partial successes in reversing the depletion of marine life cannot offset the impact of commercial overfishing, indiscriminate slaughter of bycatch, and dishonest reporting of catch and evasion of regulations. Portraits of traditional swordfish harpooners and their empathy for the fish they harvest act as a foil to impersonal large-scale fishing, and grant depth to the profession: “The opportunity to experience ocean wilderness and explore what it means to be human… is why many venture out on the sea in pursuit of giants.” The “awe and humility” felt in the presence of these fish is sensitively and powerfully wrought throughout this dramatic, transcendental tale. –Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)
The Grass Impossibly, by Holly Wren Spaulding and selected by poet Fleda Brown, received the 2008 Michigan Writers Cooperative Press Chapbook Award.