Seven-tenths: Sea and Its Thresholds Hardcover – 2 Jul 1992
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"'Informative, arcane, sometimes poetic, and always articulate.' William Golding" --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.