Bookshelf: The Face of the Deep

The Face of the Deep – Thomas Farber

The Face of the Deep
The Face of the Deep

Thomas Farber is a senior lecturer at UC Berkley and author of numerous books. The Face of the Deep is difficult to explain and classify. It is a literary meditation on salt water, which Farber loves. He writes about surfing, scuba diving, and the islands and islanders of the South Pacific.

In the subject matter of this book I was slightly reminded of Seven Tenths by James Hamilton Patterson, but The Face of the Deep is less accessible than that. Farber’s writing seems to require one to hold it in one’s mind like one holds a handful of water: it wants to slip away, flow from one subject to another. Until I accepted that this was how to accept what the book is about, I was frustrated by what seems like a very scattered approach, as I was expecting something like Tim Ecott’s Neutral Buoyancy from this small volume.

This is a poetic memoir that lightly straddles several genres, and one that I’d recommend to surfers (who seem to have a frame of mind more attuned to the mystical aspects of the ocean) more than I would recommend it to divers. If you love words, and meditations, and salt water, however, then give it a try.

You can get a copy of the book here or here.

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Lapsed mathematician, creator of order, formulator of hypotheses. Lover of the ocean, being outdoors, the bush, reading, photography, travelling (especially in Africa) and road trips.

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