The collection's opening poem, "The Beach", says what I think happens when we read Kathleen Jamie: we are "all of us/hoping for the marvellous". And we are not disappointed. There is the gimlet eye for detail, the poet's sympathetic yet honest confrontation with the natural world, and spare, beautiful, lyrical poetry. In Jamie's hands, everyday observations become profound thoughts or provocative metaphors. She challenges us to see through surface observation and beyond apparent simplicity.
After being blown away by her earlier collection "The Tree House", I had been waiting with great anticipation for this one. And I did very much enjoy it. I was moved by many of the poems, for instance, "The Spider" which makes us shriek like silly children, which perhaps we are since "Who caused this rupture? ... Have you never considered/how the world sustains?". But I felt there was more darkness, or pessimism, (or perhaps Jamie would call it 'ruthless realism') to these poems which saddened me. It may simply be the result of intervening years and the poet's maturing vision. After all, the world she watches so carefully is not getting any better.