Findings

by Kathleen Jamie

Superb nature and landscape essays.

Findings

I'm not at all sure how this book managed to escape my attention for an entire seven years after its publication: it is exactly the sort of book (nature, landscape, essays) that I read by the shelf-load, but it had never even registered as a blip on my radar. Slap on the wrist, Amazon Recommendations! What else aren't you telling me about?

Findings is one of the best books I have read for years. It is hard to categorise: books of nature writing do not usually contain accounts of surgery museums, the Edinburgh rooftops, or a husband's life-threatening fever, yet the individual essays fit together wonderfully.

There are two things I particularly like about Kathleen Jamie's writing style: she writes as a non-expert, almost thinking out loud, admitting when she is not sure about something; and, for a poet, she is remarkably dispassionate in her observations. When she encounters a dead gannet, her immediate thought is to cut its head off, so that she can have a cool trophy for her study. The decapitation turns out to be not such a good idea.

Take my word for it: this is a fantastic book. Go and buy it.

Update (October 2013): Since writing the above, I have re-read this book several times. Seriously magnificent.

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