Notes from Deep Time
‘Astounding … To call this a “history” does not do justice to Helen Gordon’s ambition’
Simon Ings, Daily Telegraph
‘Awe-inspiring … She has imbued geological tales with a beauty and humanity’
Shaoni Bhattacharya-Woodward, Mail on Sunday
The story of the Earth is written into our landscape: it’s there in the curves of hills, the colours of stone, surprising eruptions of vegetation. Wanting a fresh perspective on her own life, the writer Helen Gordon set out to read that epic narrative.
Her odyssey takes her from the secret fossils of London to the 3-billion-year-old rocks of the Scottish Highlands, and from a state-of-the-art earthquake monitoring system in California to one of the world’s most dangerous volcanic complexes in Naples. At every step, she finds that the apparently solid ground beneath our feet isn’t quite as it seems.
The reward of Helen Gordon's profoundly considered and far-reaching book is that it opens up the dizzying view of geological time ... Notes from Deep Time reaches into a place that, in a post-religious era, offers a glimpse of something close to eternity -- Philip Marsden * FT * Astounding ... To call this a "history" does not do justice to Helen Gordon's ambition. Her adventures in the deep time of Earth hark all the way back to its beginnings as a barren ocean planet, 4.4 billion years ago, while keeping one foot firmly planted in the depleted and desertified plaything we're left with today ... Notes From Deep Time sidesteps the maundering and finger-wagging that comes with much Anthropocene thinking, and shows us how much sheer intellectual and poetical entertainment there is to be had in the idea -- Simon Ings * Daily Telegraph * Awe-inspiring ... It's Gordon's background as a literary writer that takes Notes From Deep Time to the next level. She has imbued geological tales with a beauty and humanity -- Shaoni Bhattacharya-Woodward * Mail on Sunday * Notes From Deep Time is a marvel-rich masterclass of narrative non-fiction, one of those books that teaches its reader to see the world completely differently. That it does so with wit, wisdom and crystal-perfect prose only adds to the pleasure. To escape from the present into deep time with such a companionable guide is clarifying, almost therapeutic, and at times gratifyingly dizzying -- Max Porter, author * Lanny * If there were ever a good time to think about deep time, it's now ... A whirlwind tour of our planet's deep past and far future ... succeeds in grounding our existence firmly in the context of geological time -- Alexandra Witze * Nature * Helen Gordon's wonderfully expansive book encompasses a paradoxical fluidity, both tangible and immense, where human witnesses measure out deep time in golden spikes and ammonites, excavating lost seas and saurians for clues as to what we were and who we will be -- Philip Hoare, author * Leviathan * A book as multi-layered as the deep-time planet itself -- Sara Wheeler, author * Terra Incognita * Sublime ... a fascinating and thrilling descent into time, human in scale but full of moments of vertiginous wonder -- Jon Day, author * Homing * Helen Gordon's terrifically readable book juxtaposes scenes from deep Earth time with telling accounts of how geologists forensically analyse the evidence for this enormous narrative - and looks to the future, too, as humans make their own additions to the planet's strata. Highly recommended -- Jan Zalasiewicz, author * The World in a Pebble * Questing, thoughtful and profoundly moving, Notes From Deep Time is a remarkable TARDIS of a book -- Dan Richards, author * Outpost * A sparkling book that humanises the pre-human era. In her journey from the Earth's molten Hadean beginnings to our Holocene age, Gordon delivers stratigraphic revelations through the stories of the intriguing individuals who have brought their mysteries to light -- India Bourke * New Statesman *
Book experts at your service
What are you looking for?