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Sightlines by [Jamie, Kathleen]
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Sightlines Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 96 customer reviews

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Length: 260 pages Word Wise: Enabled

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Product Description

Review

Praise for Findings:

'Kathleen Jamie writes with unparalleled beauty, sharpness of observation, wit, delicacy, strength of vision and rare exactness of language.'

(Daily Telegraph)

It finds without disturbing the found. And this takes courage and delicacy (John Berger Guardian Books of the Year)

Her acheivement is to make us look again with completeluy fresh eyes at those creatures and places we had long presumed to know (Mark Cocker)

Book Description

Five years after Findings broke the mould of nature writing, Sort of Books presents Sightlines - Now a Radio 4 Book of the Week, starting on 23rd April

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2450 KB
  • Print Length: 260 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 095630866X
  • Publisher: Sort Of (24 Mar. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007C5Z52Y
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 96 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #126,893 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Sentinel TOP 500 REVIEWER on 25 Mar. 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
It's been five years since Jamie's collection 'Findings', so I looked forward to this with eager anticipation; nor was I disappointed. She dedicates this collection of pieces to "the island-goers", even though the settings include Bergen, Central Scotland, and a Pathology Lab at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee; happily islands such as Rona, St Kilda and Shetland also appear.

These essays, or perhaps 'meditations' is a better term, range in length from two to about 30 pages, long, and each are beautifully illustrated by stylish b & w photos. Whether describing the synchronised,shining curves of a pod of orcas, the eyes of gannets, "round and fierce, with a rim of weird blue", or the irregular surface of a cancer tumour, named "for the crab, because a cancer tumour sends claws out into the surrounding tissue", her eye continues to offer unusual poetic or challenging perspectives, especially when she pictures parts of the human anatomy as a landscape of land and river margins, mud-flats et al.

Her eye extends to an archaelogical dig, "the bite on the point" of her trowel, and the discovery of the woman in the cist burial. Although her sharp eye also catches the "glowing marshmallow pink" of icebergs in the morning sun during an Arctic cruise, her ear also delights in the charm of the "di-diddle-ditted" of a petrel in its burrow on Rona, responding to the tape recording played at its burrow mouth. There's also the account of her determined attempts to overcome the ocean's might, to finally describe the isolation of St.Kilda at her third attempt, and an almost hypnotic encounter with the curving power of cetacean skeletons in the 'Whale Museum' in Bergen.

Overall, this is an insightful and largely inspiring set of writings, with the marvels of the natural world predominant.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Having absolutely loved Findings, Scottish poet Kathleen Jamie's previous collection of essays, I was very excited to read Sightlines. Also inspired by the natural world, it is just as quiet and contemplative, and revisits some of her previous subjects - sea birds, islands, pathology - as well as the aurora borealis, a lunar eclipse, archaeology, whales' jawbones and a dead storm petrel she finds on St Kilda.

But as with Findings, this is more than just `nature writing'. Jamie uses each of her closely observed subjects as a jumping-off point for a meditation on our relationship to the object in question, its position in time and in the world, and its personal significance for her. The result is a series of spare yet lyrical essays that continue to resonate long after you have put the book down. Wonderful.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is an unusual book of essays, taking as its core theme the way we perceive the natural world; when we look at something, what do we see?
This sounds like it would be self-indulgent mind-gabble, but it isn't, these are beautifully crafted pieces of work that delight you with their insight and their use of language.

The description of parts of the human body under the microscope as landscape, was a completely original take on a grimly fascinating subject. It isn't all meditation, there's a lovely recollection of an archaeological dig as a teenager and these slivers of biography add to the human interest within the book.

If I hadn't known that Kathleen Jamie was a poet, I would have probably guessed it from her prose. She has an absolute mastery of language but this never distances you from her writing. I enjoyed her humorous description of the (non)trips to St Kilda as much as the more deeply meditative pieces.

Kathleen Jamie's prose output may be relatively sparse, but masterpieces aren't created overnight. Highly recommended, not just to those who enjoy the natural world, but to all who enjoy good writing.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'm a great fan of the increasingly popular genre of 'nature writing', with recent favourites including Robert Macfarlane's 'The Wild Places' and Philip Connors' 'Fire Season'. However, although it is not a genre that tends to produce terrible books, it can tend towards mediocrity; good descriptive writing abounds but truly exceptional work is rare. That's why I was delighted to discover this marvellous book of essays - and sad that I hadn't come across Kathleen Jamie's work earlier. ('Findings', her first collection, has shot right to the top of my to-read list).

These essays are an eclectic mix, spanning place, subject, and length - some are only a few pages long, others much longer. But nearly all are outstanding in one way or another. Jamie opens the collection with 'Aurora', a description of a journey towards the northern lights that is possibly the best piece she presents here, and certainly my favourite. What Joanna Kavenna struggled to do in hundreds of pages in her turgid 'The Ice Museum', Jamie manages in less than twenty, moving evocatively from a description of the 'colossal, witless indifference' of the surrounding icebergs themselves, to the radar screen that marks them out as a 'rash of green dots'. She is also not above humour, which conveys a vital sense of herself and avoids the overly-stylised journalistic tone that sometimes afflicts travel writing. Reporting that some suggest that you can hear your own nerves working in the Arctic silence, she goes on to say that 'Some people say you can smell icebergs, that they smell like cucumbers. You can smell icebergs and hear your own nervous system. I don't know.'

I have reviewed this first essay in such depth because its strengths are, largely, the strengths of the other essays in this collection.
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