Thursday, April 10, 2014

The blurb:
With her poet’s eye and naturalist’s affinity for wild places, Kathleen Jamie reports from the field in this enthralling collection of fourteen essays whose power derives from the stubborn attention she pays to everything around her. Jamie roams her native Scottish “byways and hills” and sails north to encounter whalebones and icebergs. Interweaving personal history with her scrutiny of landscape, Jamie dissects whatever her gaze falls upon—from vistas of cells beneath a hospital microscope, to orcas rounding a headland, to the aurora borealis lighting up the frozen sea. Written with precision, subtlety, and wry humor, Sightlines urges us to “Keep looking. Keep looking, even when there’s nothing much to see.”

This is my first exposure to Kathleen James and her writing reminded me of Barry Lopez's Arctic Dreams. She's a poet and writes with an economy of words. Descriptions are simple, stark and very effective as she conveys the discomfort, the beauty, and the isolation of her boat trip with other North Americans and Europeans along the fjords of Greenland.

The fourteen essays cover nature broadly and include the visit with a pathologist. Jamie's chapter on medical pathology was fascinating to me as my husband is a pathologist and teaches medical students. I look forward to sharing her perspective with him and his colleagues.

Overall, Sightlines, is an enjoyable read - carefully crafted and beautifully written.

  • ISBN-10: 161519083X - Paperback $14.95
  • Publisher: The Experiment (September 10, 2013), 256 pages. 
  • Review copy courtesy of the publisher and the Amazon Prime Reviewers Program.

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