This beautifully written, somewhat schizophrenic book, now has permanent place on my coffee table. Look at the dimensions carefully before buying, it's quite large!
I find this book a joy, as it can be used in so many ways: To sit down and lose oneself in for a while; to pick up in passing and consume a morsel of erudition; and (my favourite) to watch the look on my guests faces as they are inexorably drawn to it by title and design, open it at random, and try to work out what it is / is for / is about! Do not try and read it all at once - your head is likely to explode ;-)
Professor Gill's writing is delightful, clearly demonstrating his fascination with, and enjoyment of, so many different strands of life and art. This book will make you want to source all his other books, and all the references he quotes in the huge bibliography. Whether you are interested in reading haiku for your own pleasure, studying haiku academically as art or as history, studying Japanese culture and food (yes, they eat these icky things!), or having an interest in the natural world and the life under the seas, this book will enthrall, divert and delight.
The title is somewhat confusing, as the haiku and natural history in the book are about sea cucumbers (Holothurians, a subgroup of Echinoderms) and not sea slugs (Nudibranchs, gastropod molluscs) but Prof. Gill explains very neatly in the foreword that 'slug' is much more likely to fit into a short-meter poem than 'cucumber', and they are both, after all, fairly small slimy soft-bodied sea-floor-dwellers. Such flexibility, as well as Prof. Gill's clear sense of humour, mark this book out as a labour of love, and much more than an academic text in any subject area.