Synopses & Reviews
Water and life -- the two so inextricably bound that they can be hard to distinguish -- these are the subjects of Thomas Farber's The Face of the Deep, which celebrates a life on and in the Pacific.
Farber writes movingly of his experiences surfing, sailing, and diving in Pacific waters. He tells of chance encounters in bars and backwaters. He considers Pacific literature both Western (Stevenson, Melville, Conrad) and indigenous (Vincent Eri, Witi Ihimaera, Albert Wendt) and casts a wry glance at the work of anthropologists such as Margaret Meade.
Consider waves beating against a shore, their swells forming a pattern of involutions ("involution: a part", we learn, "rolling or curling inward in a spiral, having the whorls wound closely around the axis"). So Farber spirals fluidly around his subject, the Pacific that is his abiding love, sometimes writing personally, intimately, at other times philosophically, scientifically, or critically.
Here we are on and below the liquid mirror, surfing or diving "in a continuum, concatenation, of sunrises, sunsets ... one's consciousness itself rising and falling with the swell". Here too are voyages in remote communities, the author reaching islands rich and strange. And inevitably there are submersions in the writer's memory, descents to the past rising back to the surface of the present.
With the play and music of his language, Thomas Farber's shimmering reflections give us a fresh appreciation of the depths of the Pacific.
Consider waves beating against a shore, their swells forming a pattern of involutions. So Guggenheim scholar Thomas Farber spirals fluidly around his subject, the Pacific, that is his abiding love. Farber writes movingly of his experiences surfing, sailing, and diving in Pacific waters, chance encounters in bars and backwaters, and other reflections.
A lyrical and revealing exploration of the Pacific Ocean in all its aspects.
Literary Nonfiction. Memoir. Nature Writing. THE FACE OF THE DEEP is a lyrical and revealing exploration of the Pacific in all its aspects. "THE FACE OF THE DEEP is a marvelous, poetic achievement, the best book on diving that I have ever read, a remarkable meditation on the polysemous richness of the sea, and a fascinating log of a risky voyage of self-discovery"—Steven Greenblatt.
About the Author
Awarded Guggenheim and National Endowment fellowships for fiction and creative nonfiction, Thomas Farber has been Visiting Distinguished Writer at the University of Hawai'i, Fulbright Scholar for Pacific Island Studies, recipient of the Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor Prize, and Rockefeller Foundation resident scholar at Bellagio. His many books include THE FACE OF THE DEEP, On Water, Learning to Love It, Through a Liquid Mirror with photographer Wayne Levin, A Lover's Question: Selected Stories, and BRIEF NUDITY. He teaches at the University of California, Berkeley, and is Publisher/Editor in Chief of El León Literary Arts.