Hardcover, 240 pages

Published Sept. 19, 2019 by Sort of Books.


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5 stars (2 reviews)

3 editions

Unearthing the past

5 stars

Kathleen Jamie has a unique voice for teasing out poetic responses to landscape while also telling stories with a deceptive ease. This collection is about digging up stories of the past, with some shorter chapters surrounding three longer ones. The shorter are responsive while the longer are the centre-points for the book, and each deals with a different archaeology. The first of the three takes place in the Arctic tundra, where Jamie visits an archaeological dig with people from the Yup'ik culture who are collecting objects from hundreds of years ago that are being revealed by the melting ice. The second is at an archaeological dig on Westray island in Scotland on a prehistorical site of living. The third is an unearthing of Jamie's own memory, through her rediscovering a notebook from a trip to Tibet in her early 20s, at the time of the student protests in China. The …

Review of 'Surfacing' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

Kathleen Jamie is one of my favourite writers, she has the ability to capture the magic out of the smallest thing and come up with beautiful words to describe it.  In Surfacing she is removing a layer to see what is underneath, archaeological digs in Alaska and on the isle of Westray revealing human history, losing a parent, kids moving out and searching for what that means for her.  

There are 3 big essay's here, two of them are the digs and the third is about time spent in Xiahe in Tibet when China shut the borders down and the students rose in protest.  All three of them draw you in and it feels as if you are there, you sense the cold in Alaska, the wind of the Orkneys and the quiet of the monastery at Xiahe.  Mixed in between are some short pieces, observations of things around us …