“Troubled Waters” is another young adult eco-fiction classic from Daniel P. Mannix recently brought back to life in ebook form. I’ve previously written about “The Fox and the Hound,” Mannix’s best known work. I count this story equally captivating for its incredible detail and awareness of what an underwater world could be. Daniel P. Mannix is one of those marvelous creative beings whom I wish I could go back in time to visit.
Here’s a summary of “Troubled Waters, the Story of a Fish, a Stream, and a Pond,” provided by eNet Press-
Beneath the surface of a river, stream or pond lies a strange and dramatic world of living things, a world of unearthly beauty and marvelous complexity that to most of us is unknown. In Troubled Waters one of America’s most popular nature writers transports us into this realm of fishes and other water creatures in all its diversity and conflict, its beauty and terror, its gentleness and violence.
Out of the poisoned and heat-polluted waters of one of our great rivers flowing through a city and past factories and power plants, the male goldfish Buck and his smaller female companion find their way into a clear, wooded stream preserved by fishermen. Here, where patches of sunlight reflect on the soft brown gravel and food is abundant in the deep holes and below the swift riffles, the two fish, who have been washed out of garden pools, face the dangers of existence in the wild. To go along with them and share their life and vicissitudes is an unusual and delightful experience in reading.
Neither the drama of underwater life, nor Daniel P. Mannix’s skill in portraying it, ever flags as the fish push on up the pleasant stream, encountering such diverse and menacing creatures as swift trout, hungry catfish, darters and crayfish, a fishing spider and water shrew, and many others. But the stream is eventually destroyed in a strange fashion by the houses and towns pressing in around it, and Buck and his mate flee to a new home in a wild pond. Of their life there Daniel P. Mannix gives no less memorable an account. It is a place of grebes and mergansers, of a giant snapping turtle and an otter as fluid and swift as water itself; of numbing cold and lack of oxygen under the dark ice and snow of bitter winters; of life, warmth and incredible beauty in spring, summer and autumn.
Both sensitive and dramatic, filled with suspense and poetic in its evocation of nature, Troubled Waters brings the underwater world
“Troubled Waters,” like “The Fox and the Hound,” has my highest recommendation. If you enjoy these books, you might also like “The Last Eagle” and “The Backyard Zoo.”