Longlisted for the Highland Book Prize, 2019
Under the ravishing light of an Alaskan sky, objects are spilling from the thawing tundra linking a Yup’ik village to its hunter-gatherer past. In the shifting sand dunes of a Scottish shoreline, impressively preserved hearths and homes of Neolithic farmers are uncovered. In a grandmother’s disordered mind, memories surface of a long-ago mining accident and a ‘mither who was kind’.
In this luminous new essay collection, acclaimed author Kathleen Jamie visits archeological sites and mines her own memories – of her grandparents, of youthful travels – to explore what surfaces and what reconnects us to our past. As always she looks to the natural world for her markers and guides. Most movingly, she considers, as her father dies and her children leave home, the surfacing of an older, less tethered sense of herself.
Surfacing offers a profound sense of time passing and an antidote to all that is instant, ephemeral, unrooted.
“The best travel writing doesn’t take a ham-handed look at the world, nor does it try to escape it. It’s simply intended to make you feel so lost that you gaze up in surprise that you’re still in your living room. For that, try the splendid SURFACING, a book of essays by the Scottish poet Kathleen Jamie.” New York Times, Holiday Books Feature, Dec 2019.