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272 pages
Published:   June 16, 2020
Non-Fiction  /  Travel
Paperback:   9781773100883    $22.95

Winner, New Brunswick Book Award (Non-Fiction)
Longlisted, Miramichi Reader's "The Very Best!" Book Awards (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.
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A journalist, lecturer, and bestselling writer, Philip Lee began his career as an investigative reporter on Canada’s east coast. Restigouche emerged from his long-standing interest in rivers and the people who love them. His first book, Home Pool: The Fight to Save the Atlantic Salmon, grew out of his award-winning reporting on the decline of the Atlantic salmon. Lee is also the author of Frank: The Life and Politics of Frank McKenna, a national bestseller, and Bittersweet: Confessions of a Twice-Married Man, which was long-listed for the BC National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction.

A professor at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, Lee developed the Dalton Camp lecture series, broadcast annually by CBC Radio’s Ideas and edited The Next Big Thing (a published collection from the lectures). When he is not writing and teaching, Lee spends as much time as he can following the currents of rivers.


Winner: New Brunswick Book Award (Non-Fiction)
Longlisted: Miramichi Reader's "The Very Best!" Book Awards (Non-Fiction)


"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." — Roy MacGregor, author of Original Highways: Travelling the Great Rivers of Canada

"A brilliant work; a living, breathing and truly unforgettable account of the great Restigouche River by a master chronicler of our natural world." — David Adams Richards, author of Lines on the Water: A Fisherman’s Life on the Miramichi

"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." — Cecelia Brooks, Waponahkew nil & Canadian Rivers Institute Water Grandmother

"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." — Freeman Patterson, author of The Last Wilderness: Images of the Canadian Wild

"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." — Grid City Magazine

"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." — Atlantic Salmon Journal

"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." — [EDIT]ION

"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." — Winnipeg Free Press

"This is a special book, for many reasons." — Miramichi Reader

"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." — Saltscapes

"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." — Ottawa Life Magazine

"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." — Literary Review of Canada

"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." — Naomi K. Lewis

“This is a carefully crafted book, a personal testimony set within a wider context of impersonal forces that have been exerted across dozens of generations. For Lee, a lifetime of canoeing, fishing, and socializing along the Restigouche translates into an innovative and thoughtful portrayal of this river.” — Journal of New Brunswick Studies

“Told with a journalist's objectivity and a poet's sensibility, Lee’s Restigouche is an extraordinary work of research and finely-crafted writing that should be revisited and widely shared.” — Miramichi Reader's “Revisiting Restigouche”

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