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, hidden beneath the green hills of Naples. At every step, she finds that the apparently solid ground beneath our feet isn’t quite as it seems.
Join her to meet the unusual characters who are piecing this vast story together. Grapple with the theory that explains how it all works – plate tectonics, a break – through as significant as evolution or quantum physics but much younger than either, with many secrets still to reveal. And look ahead to the worlds to come, when only our traces will remain, enigmas for those who follow us. ‘In deep time,’ Gordon finds, ‘everything is provisional. Bones become rock. Sands become mountains. Oceans become cities.’ And life goes on.
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 * 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 * Questing, thoughtful and profoundly moving, Notes From Deep Time is a remarkable TARDIS of a book -- Dan Richards, author * Outpost *
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