Time Song (Hardcover)

Journeys in Search of a Submerged Land

By Julia Blackburn, Enrique Brinkmann (Illustrator)

Pantheon, 9781101871676, 304pp.

Publication Date: August 6, 2019

List Price: 27.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


From the award-winning author of the memoir The Three of Us, a lyrical exploration--part travelogue and part history--of Doggerland, the area beneath the North Sea which, until 6,000 years ago, was home to a rich ecosystem and human settlement.

Shortly after her husband's death, Julia Blackburn became fascinated with Doggerland, the stretch of land that once connected Great Britain to Europe but is now subsumed by the North Sea. She was driven to explore the lives of the people who lived there--studying its fossil record, as well as human artifacts that have been discovered near the area. Now, she brings her reader along on her journey across Great Britain and parts of Continental Europe, introducing us to the paleontologists, archaeologists, fishermen, and fellow Doggerland enthusiasts she meets along the way. As Doggerland begins to come into focus, what emerges is a profound meditation on time, a sense of infinity as going backwards, and an intimation of the immensity of everything that has already passed through its time on earth and disappeared.

About the Author

JULIA BLACKBURN is the author of eight books of nonfiction, including the memoir, The Three of Us; Old Man Goya, a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist; and With Billie, which won the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award. She is also the author of the novels The Book of Color and The Leper's Companions, both of which were short-listed for the Orange Prize. She lives in England.

Praise For Time Song: Journeys in Search of a Submerged Land

“Subtle, an interweaving or drawing together of times, juxtaposing the now and the then until the gap contracts . . . Species appear and vanish, cultures develop and are annihilated. It sounds depressing, but this is one of the only books I’ve ever read that has made me feel better about climate change. It’s not that we’re not doomed . . . But the end of us doesn’t mean the end of existence altogether . . . but if this book convinces me of anything, it’s that there will always be more life to come.”—Olivia Laing, The Guardian

“Lyrical . . . An impressionistic picture of a place that is both gone and yet still there . . . This sweet, sad book will leave its readers meditating on loss and timelessness.”Publishers Weekly

“It is a magical, mesmerizing booka book which makes you feel giddy at the thought of the deep gulf of history hidden just beneath your feet . . .”The Scotsman

“Unconventional . . . [Time Song] is a meditation on the Mesolithic and what people are truly looking for when they turn to the past . . . Ms. Blackburn is a collector with an eye for minutiae. Like an archaeologist’s shelf, her writing is filled with detail . . . Arresting . . . The combination of wry observations and personal reflections makes Time Song gripping.”The Economist
“A breathtaking survey . . .”—Literary Review

“Julia Blackburn is an ideal guide to such territory . . . Time Song is richly peopled, Blackburn’s unflagging curiosity and sharp eye bringing a diverse cast of characters vividly to life . . . She’s conjuring for us not merely the facts of Doggerland, but the weight of its omission from our history books, our collective memory and our imaginations.”—Financial Times

“Beautiful . . . a memoir-cum-meditation . . . [Blackburn] alight[s] on what she finds and hears with a vital clarity and exactness . . . [Time Song] is an anatomy of melancholy; but she is often funny, and the eccentricity of the pursuit of the deep past does not escape her . . . Rarely have I read a book in which there is such an entrancingly liquid and easy drift between the metaphorical and the actual . . . It feels both Wordsworthian and Woolfian, accepting the dissolution of boundaries in a dynamic tidal psychic geography that becomes Blackburn’s description of the nature of being . . . This book is a wonder.”—Adam Nicolson, The Spectator