The Sea Inside, by Philip Hoare

Paperback review

Sat, May 31, 2014, 01:00


Book Title:
The Sea Inside


Philip Hoare

Fourth Estate

Guideline Price:

The science-fiction writer Arthur C Clarke reckoned that, rather than Earth, a better name for our planet would be Sea. Clearly of a similar mind, Philip Hoare brings his readers on a magical mystery tour of human-marine interactions. The opening chapter finds him swimming in a muddy estuary near his Southampton home; soon he’s chasing sperm whales in New Zealand. As with all the best journeys, you never know what’s around the corner: a discussion of corvid intelligence; a diversion to Lindisfarne to spend time with St Cuthbert; revelations about the sexual habits of the dolphin (which just might account for those enigmatic smiles). Hoare’s is an oddball odyssey, in many ways. He quotes Iris Murdoch and Derek Mahon. He wonders whether the Tasmanian tiger – the thylacine – is, after all, extinct. If you find that the sea lifts your heart, this book will have your spirits soaring. Hoare is coming to West Cork Literary Festival, too, to give a reading on Whiddy Island on July 12th.

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