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Findings: Essays on the Natural and Unnatural World Paperback – March 20, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Prose essays of a sharpness of looking, and directness of thought, that will make them last a long time; some of the best writing out of rural Scotland for many decades. Jamie observes the extraordinary, alien natural world around her with a frank uncluttered candour, while nevertheless standing rooted in the middle of modern family life. -- Andrew Marr Kathleen Jamie is a supreme listener. Her attention - to the beckoning calls of the peregrines that nest near her house, to the brimful darkness in the neolithic chambers at Maes Howe, to the mute appeals of embryo skeletons in a medical museum - has a directness that borders on the heroic. And in the quietness of her listening, you hear her own voice: clear, subtle, respectful, and so unquenchably curious that it makes the world anew. This is as close as writing gets to a conversation with the natural world. -- Richard Mabey From the moment you meet Kathleen Jamie's words, you meet a passion for the environment, not as an abstract quality but as what surrounds her...the small birds in the garden, the landscapes of her native Scotland, even ordinary familiar domestic cares are illuminated with curiosity, affection, knowledge and a deep concern. -- Rosalind Coward, writer and journalist --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

The award-winning poet and essayist Kathleen Jamie was born in the west of Scotland in 1962. A part-time lecturer in creative writing at St. Andrews University, she lives with her family in Fife, Scotland.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 190 pages
  • Publisher: Graywolf Press (March 20, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1555974457
  • ISBN-13: 978-1555974459
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #210,386 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Elevate Difference on July 29, 2007
Format: Paperback
Jamie writes with sobriety, sensitivity and grace about the natural world and our human place within it. Her book is sparsely illustrated with delicate black-and-white photographs that picture many of her topics. She chronicles visits to places ranging from her own backyard to the Orkney Islands to Edinburgh and beyond, with a marked preference for those wilder spots where the human imprint may still be seen, but nature prevails.

In the Central Highlands she explores a glen scattered with "abandoned shielings," small stone huts used by villagers for thousands of years as summer homes while they pastured their cattle on the fresh upland grass, and she reflects on a by-gone way of life. "Up here they made milk, butter and cheese, and it was women's work. What a loss that seems now: a time when women were guaranteed a place in the wider landscape, our own place in the hills." Living on and with the land is important to her; she pays attention to the seasons, the birds and fish, the trees and other plants, going about in all kinds of weather, walking, biking or sailing. At times she is with her children or friends; often she is alone. Always she strives to be alert, to catch that moment of revelation, "to glance up from my own everyday business, to see the osprey or the peregrine going about hers."

The book opens with a chapter called "Darkness and Light" about the winter solstice, magical scenes of the half light of northern Scotland, her own desire "to enter into the dark for the love of its textures and wild intimacy," and her pilgrimage to Maes Howe, a Neolithic stone cairn built with a long passageway arranged so that each evening, for a few days around the solstice, a ray from the setting midwinter sun shines through to light the chambered vault, like a promise, like a kiss.
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By Dr JS Ross on February 21, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In a word, wonderful. Full of wonders. A completely fresh way to look at the world and our place in it
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By Lucia Tilling on September 11, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
My book group loved Findings. I was studying and reading for assignments and found this book a welcome distraction. I could have been on the island!
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By kiwi on July 11, 2014
Format: Paperback
Jamie has wit, knowledge, sharp prose: delightful read
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