Essays on the Natural and Unnatural World
Graywolf Press, 9781555974459, 190pp.
Publication Date: March 20, 2007
"A book of unparalleled beauty, sharpness of observation, wit, delicacy, strength of vision and rare exactness of language." —The Daily Telegraph
I had noticed, more than noticed, the cobwebs, and the shoaling light, and the way the doctor listened, and the flecked tweed of her skirt, and the speckled bird and the sickle-cell man's slim feet. Isn't that a kind of prayer? The care and maintenance of the web of our noticing, the paying heed?
During her husband's hospital stay for a life-threatening illness, Kathleen Jamie didn't pray, but she did find herself paying very close attention to the world around her. In Findings, she shares her direct, uncluttered observations of the natural and unnatural world—seen from her kitchen window, on the streets of Edinburgh, in hospital corridors, in the Outer Hebrides.
What she finds: an awe-inspiring salmon run that turns out to have been reengineered so that no salmon can possibly reach the top of the falls. A disembodied doll head, caught with the carcass of a whale on a remote island, where crofters once combed for driftwood. She wonders "if durability is still a virtue, when we have invented plastic."
Findings received resounding praise on publication in the United Kingdom. John Berger named it his favorite book of 2005, "because it finds without disturbing the found. And this takes courage and delicacy" (The Guardian).
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.