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Findings Paperback – 2 Jun 2005

55 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 204 pages
  • Publisher: Sort Of Books (2 Jun. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0954221745
  • ISBN-13: 978-0954221744
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 115,350 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Prose essays of a sharpness of looking, and directness of thought, that will make them last a long time; some of the best writing out of rural Scotland for many decades. Jamie observes the extraordinary, alien natural world around her with a frank uncluttered candour, while nevertheless standing rooted in the middle of modern family life. (Andrew Marr)

Kathleen Jamie is a supreme listener. Her attention - to the beckoning calls of the peregrines that nest near her house, to the brimful darkness in the neolithic chambers at Maes Howe, to the mute appeals of embryo skeletons in a medical museum - has a directness that borders on the heroic. And in the quietness of her listening, you hear her own voice: clear, subtle, respectful, and so unquenchably curious that it makes the world anew. This is as close as writing gets to a conversation with the natural world. (Richard Mabey)

From the moment you meet Kathleen Jamie's words, you meet a passion for the environment, not as an abstract quality but as what surrounds her...the small birds in the garden, the landscapes of her native Scotland, even ordinary familiar domestic cares are illuminated with curiosity, affection, knowledge and a deep concern. (Rosalind Coward, writer and journalist)

About the Author

Winner of the prestigious Forward Prize 2004, Kathleen Jamie is considered one of Britain’s most important poets. Her first travel book, Among Muslims, was described by The Independent as “utterly luminous” and by the Times Literary Supplement as “one of the most powerful accounts by a contemporary western writer”. She often writes for BBC Radio 3 and the London Review of Books, and is a lecturer in Creative Writing at St Andrews University. Kathleen Jamie lives in Fife with her husband and two young children.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

106 of 109 people found the following review helpful By D S Richards on 20 July 2005
Format: Paperback
This is a beautiful collection of essays, evocative, poetic, humane and rooted. The reader is cradled by the style, taught to look and to see and above all appreciate a sense of place and context. It can be highly recommended to anyone in need of refreshment from grind or grime.
I bought this book because I felt a deep sense of gratitude for Kathleen Jamie's 'Among Muslims'; she is one of a few writers I buy automatically. This collection has not disappointed. The essays have at their core a passion for Scotland the wild, the home but not romantic or rose-tinted. The issues she raises from within herself are relevant to any human location. The stresses and strains of mans relationship with the environment are described in a context that is clear and meaningful. By the end the essays have shown the reader to see and view the environment with a poignant reality rare in books of any sort. This is an inspiring enviromental appreciation and its gentle understanding of the complex facets involved in these debates is unique; no bullying tone but a clear and deep gratitude for surrounding both natural and man-made. Begging nothing more than an aware, sensitive and achievable response from the reader.
The language is poetic and resonant. My husband has gone blind quite recently and I am often on the look out for books that are visually strong enough for him to enjoy. I read the first chapter to him, its subject, Darkness and Light was beautifully evocative of a place we had visited when he had more sight. Yet we agreed had you not visited these places you would still feel enchanted and drawn towards them.
The 'essay' style of the collection is also attractive. Busy family life can preclude long complicated reads, especially in summer.
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Peter Marshall on 3 Nov. 2006
Format: Paperback
A Life Less Ordinary

Kathleen Jamie is a rare talent. She has travelled widely, Tibet, Pakistan and Afghanistan, and in a scared world drawn in upon itself, written compassionately about the people she has met. She is one of Scotland's foremost contemporary poets whose poems explore the profundity of the everyday. She draws connections not from the insignificant to the profound, but sees within the ordinary the essential. Reading her is a delight. Her writing suggests that you could leave your children with her for the day knowing that they would not only be safe, but would probably be eager to visit again. She has no need for the bile and withering sarcasm of the alpha males of the literary world. You won't have to wipe spittle of your chin while staring into the angry eyes of a Will Self, or watch your back while an Amis is around.

Her latest book `Findings' is a series of essays, a gentle ramble around her homeland. Although domestic and whimsical, delighting in random insignificant details such as a plastic doll's head on a Hebridean beach, in her quiet way she explores the significance of the mundane, charting the drama and complexity of ordinary life.

She is evidently a restless soul finding reasons to travel. The places she chooses are usually on the margins of modern society; highland sheilings, deserted Hebridean Islands, Maes Howe in Orkney or watching corncrakes on Coll. But these are not places to hide from the horrors of the modern world but rather vantages points providing a descant to its muzak. In the eponymous essay `Findings' in the chance company of BBC sound recordists she visits the Monarch Islands admitting that she has never heard off them before. Tim and Martin are keen to record bird song.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Rambling Sid Rumpo on 28 Mar. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was a little disappointed by Findings, having bought it on the strength of prior reviews. It's written in delicate, straightforward prose, with occasional moments of beautiful observation, and with some laugh-out-loud descriptions too, which were a real pleasure to read. Findings is a collection of essays about the natural world, our common day-to-day lives, and our strange juxtaposition with nature. There's nothing new in what Jamie says - these aren't philosophical essays or encouragements to deeper thought about nature. Jamie's central point is to encourage us to pay closer to attention to nature, and she persuades by doing so herself, and writing with as close an eye as she can. By far the strongest essay in the collection actually takes place indoors, when she visits the museum collection of a hospital. It's a strange, intoxicating moment, which creates a powerful atmosphere. However, the essays seem like a series of extended pieces of journalism. She uses the same technique to frame each of them, so that after a while, rather than reading like an unfolding perspective on nature, they become a bit predictable.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By R. Rigby on 28 Aug. 2005
Format: Paperback
Findings, by Kathleen Jamie is a startling evocation of place. Jamie presents a collection of essays and observations of her native Scotland, bringing a poet's eye to the landscape and city skylines. There is a keen awareness of the beauty of the natural world, and of the artifacts built by people, be they ruined bothys in isolated glens, the monuments of Edinburgh or a preserved specemin in a jar.
It is always a joy to see the world as others do, and Kathleen Jamie is generous and eloquent in her observations. A book to make you open your eyes and love the world again - as such, it is highly recommended.
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