Shortlisted, New Brunswick Book Award for Non-Fiction
A CBC New Brunswick Book List Selection
An Atlantic Books Today Must-Have New Brunswick Books of 2020 Selection
The Restigouche River flows through the remote border region between the provinces of Quebec and New Brunswick, its magically transparent waters, soaring forest hillsides, and population of Atlantic salmon creating one of the most storied wild spaces on the continent. In Restigouche, writer Philip Lee follows ancient portage routes into the headwaters of the river, travelling by canoe to explore the extraordinary history of the river and the people of the valley. They include the Mi’gmaq, who have lived in the Restigouche valley for thousands of years; the descendants of French Acadian, Irish, and Scottish settlers; and some of the wealthiest people in the world who for more than a century have used the river as an exclusive wilderness retreat.
The people of the Restigouche have long been both divided and united by a remarkable river that each day continues to assert itself, despite local and global industrial forces that now threaten its natural systems and the survival of the salmon. In the deep pools and rushing waters of the Restigouche, in this place apart in a rapidly changing natural world, Lee finds a story of hope about how to safeguard wild spaces and why doing so is the most urgent question of our time.
"A great combination of delightful semi-wilderness river trips on the Restigouche, and a highly political book about the need to protect and restore the river."
"A brilliant work; a living, breathing and truly unforgettable account of the great Restigouche River by a master chronicler of our natural world."
"In Restigouche, Philip Lee offers a rich and immersive travel memoir full of adventure, as well as the history of place and its people, a philosophical and ecological treatise, and a plea, if not a lament, for the natural world and all the living beings that depend on it. One man’s love and exploration of this one river offer the reader a glimpse of what’s possible when we pay due respect and attention to the world’s wild places, not to mention to the people who dwell there, and what calamity awaits when, as happens all too often, greed and decadence get the upper hand."
"Lee offers ... concrete descriptions of the life that flows around him, which he complements with engaging chapters on the complex, multi-layered history of the region."
"This stunning book published by Goose Lane Editions is a beautiful and poetic love letter to one of Canada's most beautiful rivers and you need it on your coffee table now."
"From its geological origins, to the importance of this vast watershed to First Nations and early settlers alike, Philip Lee’s latest book, Restigouche: The Long Run of the Wild River, covers much ground, or more accurately water."
"Extraordinarily well crafted—what is essentially an academic exercise has been transformed into a hard-to-put-down page turner, as compelling as a fine novel."
"This is a special book, for many reasons."
"Using an ambitious canoe trip as the structure for his story, Lee takes readers through calm waters, white rapids and occasional portages to share the many characters and events that have shaped the region’s rich history. The journey is long, deep and involved, but moves with a comfort and confidence rarely found in texts of this complexity."
"Magnificent. A grand and sweeping tale that is also the story of New Brunswick, of the Maritimes, of Canada. What Philip Lee has done in Restigouche is compose a compelling, poetic love letter to the forever river of his life. This book is his plea for conservation, protection, and restoration. But it is also, happily, a book filled with love of the river and hope for its future."
"Journey down an ancient wild river with a seasoned river man and gifted storyteller. Hear the aspirations and hearts of the original river people of this land called Mi'gmag'i and the newcomers who have grown to love this river and the gifts she shares with all who take the time."
"Restigouche is a paean for the river that flows for 200 kilometres through the remote border region between New Brunswick and Quebec, a river with beautifully transparent waters, forest hillsides and Atlantic salmon, and for the people who have lived beside and from the river for thousands of years."
"In this love story about a wild river, a metaphor for all love stories about wild places, Lee describes the intricate and intimate experience, the profound caring, and deep pleasures of a long-term relationship and, in the telling, connects us with All That Is."