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From the author of Leviathan: Or, The Whale, comes a composite portrait of the subtle, beautiful, inspired and demented ways in which we have come to terms with our watery planet. In the third of his watery books, the author goes in pursuit of human and animal stories of the sea. Of people enchanted or driven to despair by the water, accompanied by whales and birds and seals familiar spirits swimming and flying with the author on his meandering odyssey from suburbia into the unknown.
Along the way, he encounters drowned poets and eccentric artists, modernist writers and era-defining performers, wild utopians and national heroes famous or infamous, they are all surprisingly, and sometimes fatally, linked to the sea.
Out of the storm-clouds of the twenty-first century and our restive time, these stories reach back into the past and forward into the future. This is a shape-shifting world that has never been certain, caught between the natural and unnatural, where the state between human and animal is blurred. Time, space, gender and species become as fluid as the sea.
Here humans challenge their landbound lives through art or words or performance or myth, through the animal and the elemental. And here they are forever drawn back to the water, forever lost and found on the infinite sea.
Philip Hoare's is the author of several books, including Serious Pleasures: The Life of Stephen Tennant; Noel Coward; Oscar Wilde's Last Stand; Spike Island; England's Lost Eden; Leviathan: Or, The Whale, winner of the 2009 Samuel Johnson Prize for non-fiction; and The Sea Inside. He lives in Southampton.
"Rarely have I read a book that felt as if it were speaking so directly, so confidentially to me. Risingtidefallingstar is about books and about swimming, but most of all it does what all great books do: makes you feel that it's a private conversation between you and the author. I finished it with an obscure feeling of privilege, to have been granted such access to Hoare's most secret, intimate self [...] Risingtidefallingstar is a masterpiece"
– Alex Preston, Observer
"A rich and strange combination of memoir, travelogue and literary biography [...] Risingtidefallingstar contains much of wonder in words strewn across its pages like treasures revealed on the sand by a retreating tide"
– Caspar Henderson, Financial Times
"This is an exquisite read, stuffed with dark myths and eerie legends, nourished by the author's sublime gift for poetic description"
– Michael Simkins, Mail on Sunday
"Hoare conveys a redemptive sense of the wide, continuous and beautiful world, in a remarkable book that sometimes feels rather loosely fitted together, but is always rich and strange"
"His idiosyncratic tales of mariners, adventurers and the odd dilettante rise almost to the level of poetry [...] he evokes the sense of majesty that a seascape can inspire in us"
– Clive Davis, The Times
"Wonderful [...] This beautifully written book is a delight"
– BBC Radio 4
"he themes and preoccupations are familiar from Hoare's previous writing [...] but their revisiting here reveals a landscape as exhilarating different as that of the foreshore from one tide to the next"
– Jane Shilling, Evening Standard
"Hoare writes with a beautiful and liquid assurance, luxuriantly at home in this half-modernist, half-conventional medium and capable of astonishingly realised visions of floating moments and sea encounters"
– Adam Nicholson, Spectator
"A swirling, poetic reverie"
"He is poetic and precise [...] a rich portrait of the sea as an imaginative landscape"