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Seven-Tenths: The Sea and its Thresholds [Paperback]

James Hamilton-Paterson
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Mar 2007
Seven-Tenths is James Hamilton-Paterson's classic exploration of the sea. A beautifully-written blend of literature and science, it is here brought back into print in a revised and updated edition which includes the acclaimed essay Sea Burial.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (1 Mar 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571229387
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571229383
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 309,801 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"'Informative, arcane, sometimes poetic, and always articulate.' William Golding"

About the Author

James Hamilton-Paterson is the author of the bestselling Empire of the Clouds, which was hailed as a classic account of the golden age of British aviation. He won a Whitbread Prize for his first novel, Gerontius, and among his many other celebrated books are Seven-Tenths, one of the finest books written in recent times about the oceans, the satirical trilogy that began with Cooking with Fernet Branca, and the autobiographical Playing With Water. Born and educated in England, he has lived in the Philippines and Italy and now makes his home in Austria.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars simply incredible writing 17 Jun 2007
Format:Paperback
Seven-tenths is a bookshop's nightmare of a book. Where to place a book which describes maps, islands, love, loss, death and passion - in poet's language?

Taking our complex relationship with the sea as the starting point, this book is a philosophical meditation on the sea as physical birthplace of our race and the emotional abyss of our dreams. Moving between aspects of science, cartography, biography, poetry and philosophy, this book is, unsurprisingly, difficult to define or describe. It is simply outstanding. The language is hauntingly beautiful, even when describing exactly what happens to a human body during and after a burial at sea, as it sinks through miles of water.

James Hamilton-Paterson has an unflinching gaze coupled with a poet's exactitude. If my house were burning and I could save only one book from the multitudes, this would be it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wide-ranging, elegant, fact-filled, poetic... 2 Dec 2010
By Henk Beentje TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
The book: the Earth is 70 % water, and so are our bodies. With an insatiable appetite for facts and a real love of his subject, Hamilton-Patterson gives us his book of the sea, and the human/sea interface - where the problems are, the myths, the lack of knowledge; remote and personal islands, Pearl Harbour's wrecks, seamount surveys, the need for pre-atomic metal, the cucumber solution, the feeling of free-diving at night... which bits of drowned people get eaten first, epibenthic sledging, calenture... a treasury of information, coupled to a thoughtful review of the state of the Oceans, leading inexorably to a bitter conclusion - but with H-P's joy and wonder at the seas' beauty intact.

My opinion: full of detailed observations or snippets, and still forming a coherent whole; like swimming among reefs, where "details must be noted but never seen in isolation". At times bitter and cynical, but always elegant, provoking and fascinating. "Objets trouvés should be marvelled at, then allowed to become perdus at once. Only thus can the transient pleasure of crossed trajectories be sustained in the memory." "The mode of travel determines the place reached." "what one finds never finds the cavity which the search hollows out." Don't think it is all philosophical, it ranges from the earthy to the exciting, from the bitter to the melancholy, and often poetic.
A beautiful book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars wonderfull book.. 11 Jan 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
this is a fantastic book, beautifully written and still very relevant. the author has a terrific style its a modern classic.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I have the feeling the author of "Life of Pi" read this book somewhere along the way 16 Mar 2013
By Pretzelcuatl - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Seven Tenths deserves to be a lot more well known. It's a series of interconnected essays about the sea, and exhaustively covers subjects like undersea geo-mapping, modern oceanic piracy, overfishing, and nomadism. But it's the author's amazing voice that makes it all most worthwhile, filled with beauty and aching need to understand something that will outlast us all, and never be fully understood.
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