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The Sea is Not Made of Water

Life Between the Tides

Adam Nicolson



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17 November 2021
'A remarkable and powerful book, the rarest of things ... Nicolson is unique as a writer ... I loved it' EDMUND DE WAAL

'Miraculous ... An utterly fascinating glimpse of a watery world we only thought we knew' PHILIP HOARE

Few places are as familiar as the shore - and few as full of mystery and surprise. How do sandhoppers inherit an inbuilt compass from their parents? How do crabs understand the tides? How can the death of one winkle guarantee the lives of its companions? What does a prawn know?

In The Sea is Not Made of Water, Adam Nicolson explores the natural wonders of the intertidal and our long human relationship with it. The physics of the seas, the biology of anemone and limpet, the long history of the earth, and the stories we tell of those who have lived here: all interconnect in this zone where the philosopher, scientist and poet can meet and find meaning.

In this blend of fascinating, surprising ecology and luminous human history, Adam Nicolson gives an invitation to the shoreline. Anyone who chooses can look beyond their own reflection and find the marvellous there, waiting an inch beneath their nose.
Imprint:   HARPER360
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 234mm,  Width: 153mm,  Spine: 33mm
Weight:   610g
ISBN:   9780008294786
ISBN 10:   000829478X
Pages:   384
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Adam Nicolson is the author of many books on history, travel and the environment. He is winner of the Somerset Maugham Award and the British Topography Prize and lives on at Sissinghust Castle in Kent. His most recent book for HarperCollins is Sissinghurst, a wonderful and personal biography of a place - the story of a heritage, of a vision of connecting once more buildings and garden, fields and farms and of how that dream was realised.

Reviews for The Sea is Not Made of Water: Life Between the Tides

Early praise for The Sea is Not Made of Water 'The rock pools, strands and beaches between us and the sea are vibrant interzones, endlessly renewed, full of life. They are fertile, fluid places, where humans, crustaceans, seabirds, cultures and dreams exist, constantly evolving before our eyes, changing sex and shape and meaning. In his miraculous new book, Adam Nicolson brings them all together, under his expert, writerly purview. Effortlessly, in deft, sure and delightful prose, he segues through species, science and art to present tidal nature as a microcosm. The result is an utterly fascinating glimpse of a watery world we only thought we knew. Philip Hoare, author of Albert & the Whale 'Nicolson is the supreme poet of the edges - which is where the only interesting and significant things happen. And in The Sea is Not Made of Water - a book explicitly about the liminal places where everything is change - his talents are supremely on display. The shore confounds the whole notion of boundaries, and it takes a writer who himself despises and transgresses the traditional boundaries of 'science', 'philosophy', and 'art' to do justice to the shore. Nicolson brings all of himself to the foaming edge of the sea. No one else I know would have the nerve to do that. The result is a subversive, disconcerting triumph; a wondering, wonderful thing' Charles Foster, author of Being a Beast and Being a Human 'If you like to gorge on words and ideas you could hardly hope for a finer feast than this. Nicolson serves up the nature and science of the seashore with a side order of human history and legend, seasoned beautifully with philosophical insight and a pinch of autobiography. For dessert, there's even a generous slice of the meaning of life. If it sounds a bit rich, don't worry. It's all so delicious you'll find room for it' Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

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