The Fisherman

Narrated by: Danny Campbell
Length: 11 hrs and 27 mins
Categories: Fiction, Horror
4 out of 5 stars (863 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In upstate New York, in the woods around Woodstock, Dutchman's Creek flows out of the Ashokan Reservoir. Steep-banked, fast-moving, it offers the promise of fine fishing, and of something more, a possibility too fantastic to be true. When Abe and Dan, two widowers who have found solace in each other's company and a shared passion for fishing, hear rumors of the Creek, and what might be found there, the remedy to both their losses, they dismiss it as just another fish story. 

Soon, though, the men find themselves drawn into a tale as deep and old as the Reservoir. It's a tale of dark pacts, of long-buried secrets, and of a mysterious figure known as Der Fischer: the Fisherman. It will bring Abe and Dan face to face with all that they have lost, and with the price they must pay to regain it. 

©2016 John Langan (P)2017 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Shifting between past and present, Langan builds terrifying scenes...the mythology is genuinely creepy." ( Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

I've read it twice already and I'll read it again.

The humanity expressed in the first part of this book is profound and relatable. Male emotionality is especially fraught with bullshit in our culture, and Langan beautifully expresses certain facets of how men (try to) navigate this realm with one another.

The otherworldly horror aspects of this tale are phenomenally envisioned, hitting several of my favorite notes: haunted places, mysterious local history, warlocks, things from beyond, and straaange summoning rituals.

And of course these two aspects of the book become inextricably interwoven. Another reader might be able to predict the route of their intersection, but I was so engrossed in the page-by-page unfolding of the story, it took me entirely by surprise.

15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Harrowing Novel by One of Horror's Modern Masters

Would you listen to The Fisherman again? Why?

The Fisherman unfolds like a story told by a grandfather during a storm or at a bar when the sea's too bad to catch anything. It only gets better with a second listen!

What did you like best about this story?

Langan's language is incredible.

Have you listened to any of Danny Campbell’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

n/a

If you could take any character from The Fisherman out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Abe--if only to hear the yarn from the man himself.

Any additional comments?

This Stoker Award-winning novel ushers in what will hopefully be the rise of the Weird Fiction Horror Novel. Let's hope it inspires Audible to produce his short fiction as audiobooks as well. I can't wait to hear The Wide, Carnivorous Sky!

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

The Horror of Loss

I wanted to love The Fisherman. It's been described as a literate "cosmic" (ie: Lovecraftian) horror novel and that sounded right up my alley. It gets off to a very strong start as we meet Abe and Dan, two men dealing with terrible loss who find solace together in fishing. Langan takes the time to develop these characters (particularly Abe) into people we care about. Unfortunately, just as that relationship is becoming interesting, the novel takes a left turn into a very long story within a story. It's important to the plot but the characters in this section of the book aren't as interesting or well-developed as Dan and Abe. Structurally, the story sets up what follows later but it consumes half of the novel, leaving it's main characters far behind and by the time the tale finally returns to them, it's too easy to see what's coming, making the remainder of the book somewhat anticlimactic.

There are some wonderful descriptive passages and there's no shortage of imagination. The story deals effectively with both powerful mythological concepts and human bereavement. It's a good book, certainly a cut above many of the less ambitious horror novels I've read but in the end, I think it's sabotaged a bit by it's own structure.

I'd give it 3.5 stars if that was an option.

Danny Campbell's narration is excellent.

25 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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Good Story

Well written atmospheric horror story. Only flaw is a long interlude in the middle that is actually a stand alone story itself.

7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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If Poe or Lovecraft were still around...

They'd have this book on their shelf. Great balance of wierd and ordinary. The dream-like imagery and language showed a hint of "Dagon" or "The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath" with the language to match. As a fan of Lovecraftian prose, this hit the mark.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great slow burn horror book

Slow burn horror with a lovecraftian twist. Fantastic narration tops of an existential take of terror. Recommended for horror fans

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

2.5 stars

Like a fair number of other reviewers, I did not like the structure of this novel. At first I thought, okay two stories for the price of one. But the middle 3/4 of the novel is an overly-long backstory, with far less interesting characters than the shorter parts of the novel which book end it.

In addition, far too much of this middle chunk is expositional and narrated, rather than taking advantage of dialogue and character development. In some respects, while I value and enjoy Lovecraft, the middle 3/4 of The Fisherman is too much akin to Lovecraft's expositional style, which has been criticized for its lack of dialogue and character development. It's a particular style of writing that generally works for Lovecraft in his short stories, but which is not sustainable over such a long piece as in Fisherman.

I have one more criticism of this middle chunk of the novel. It uses an annoying continuous present verb tense. For example, "He picks up the axe and swings it. Its Edge bites deep. Blood gushes from the wound. He swings the axe again and again. The thing before him writhes." 200 Pages of that is just too much. (That is not a direct quote from the novel, but a brief paraphrase for the sake of example.)

I also don't think the narrator works for this novel. He would be excellent for a different kind of literary fiction, but there isn't enough urgency in his narration of The Fisherman.

at the end of the day, this would have made a great short story or novella, but the structure doesn't work and the story itself is not sustainable for a full-length novel.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Chilling To The Core.

I find it refreshing to find a story that can keep me riveted to the spot like this.
such a fantastic story of terror and suspense.
I highly recommend.
thank you.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Missed the point

Imagine if Stephen King wrote a bad Lovecraftian horror fantasy story... this is that story. The pacing is bad, the horror elements are spoiled by the terrible foreshadowing, the magic is confusing and unnecessary, and the characters don't feel real. King uses very realistic human elements to scare us, and when he doesn't, he uses monsters that feed on our subconscious fears. Lovecraft's gods were cosmic bulldozers, destroying any insignificant human unlucky enough to cross their paths. Langan started off strong with a story of loss and then screwed the whole thing up by going off on a side story which took up way too much of the story, by the time we arrived back at the main characters, I no longer cared about them. The addition of wizards and eldritch gods is normally right up my alley, but it just didnt work here. Maybe Langan wasn't going for a King or Lovecraft vibe but that's definitely what I got from this story.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

I just didn't like it

Great narrator. I just couldn't connect with this story. Others like this novel. I did not.

1 person found this helpful