1.19.2011

Book Review

Here's my New York Times Book Review of Carl Safina's The View from Lazy Point. I loved this book, and highly recommend it--provocative and beautiful. The illustrations by Trudy Nicholson, scattered throughout the book, are wonderful.

8 comments:

georganne said...

On a chilled gray January morning in dry lands of eastern Washington State, your words in the Sunday Book Review appeared as light. Illuminating what could drive a woman at 55: to cultivate a more considerate life. And your ending, a primer for living: "We can ask no more from those who warn about dark days ahead than that they also awaken us to the miracle of everyday life." Thank you for your wisdom.

karensandburg said...

beautiful review. it's important, as often as we can, to fill ourselves with thoughts that make us more considerate of our surroundings, of each other -- of the in between...

thank you dominique for constantly reminding us...

mary said...

Thank you, once again, for pointing the way. I'm on my way to order this book. Mary

Carl Safina said...

Dominique, I am honored to have this unexpected opportunity to tell you how thrilled i and everyone on my end were with your review and response to my book. You made my week. Best of luck with Slow Love

If I can be excused, I'd like to add that The View From Lazy Point; A Natural Year in an Unnatural World is also getting other heart-stopping reviews:


“I was flat-out blown away. This thing is a great glittering gem of a book, certainly the first immortal work of popular natural history of the 21st century. It was a thrill and an honor to read. And when I finished I felt young again and full of lightning.”
—Steve Donoghue, Managing Editor, Open Letters Monthly

Reminiscent of Thoreau’s Walden but thoroughly Safina’s. — Miami Herald

“A true masterpiece. The writing is both powerful and poetic, the observations so keen and telling. Lazy Point just might become the 21st century’s Walden.” —Gary Soucie, former editor of Audubon Magazine

You could call Safina a Thoreau for the 21st century. —New York Post

Before Carl Safina, environmentalists could often be heard wondering where the next Rachel Carson, Aldo Leopold or Henry Beston might be hiding... The pure sensuous detail, seeing the natural world from a variety of angles, was missing in the generations after Carson and Leopold... — Newsday

“With his grand sense of adventure, eye for beauty, heart for mercy and high hopes to shake us from our complacency, Safina seems a godsend among modern-day prophets. His is a voice worth listening to.” —Alice Evans, The Oregonian

“A book of beautifully modulated patterns and gracefully stated imperatives… Carl Safina’s books evince two traits not commonly associated with science writing: exquisite language and freely expressed empathy for animals.” —Booklist, starred and featured review

This book is beautifully written, elegiac and insistent—a very necessary read.
—Sheryl Cotleur, Book Passage booksellers, Corte Madera. Ca.

“What a marvelously large-handed, energetic, omnivorous book! One can swim at so many levels in its comprehensive inventiveness.”
—Ted Hoagland, author of Early in the Season

“An optimism suffuses this sensible and sensitive book.” —Publishers’ Weekly

“A superb work.” —Kirkus, starred review

Few have done more for the world's oceans than Carl Safina… Now he's back with what might be his best book yet. —Outside magazine

“Written by a brilliant stylist and deeply concerned conservationist... Alive with fresh ideas.”
—Richard Ellis, author of The Empty Ocean and Tuna: A Love Story

“The high quality of his prose makes all this fascinating information such a great pleasure to read.” — Peter Matthiessen

There is a rhythm to this book that sweeps one up and inspires like a fine piece of music. Within each chapter Safina stuns us with his performance, displaying the alacrity of a jazz soloist to make his points. As a whole, The View from Lazy Point has the power of a symphony, with its choruses and cadences, and classic themes. Safina is a great writer with the soul of Longfellow, the clarity of Darwin, and the gruff understanding of human reality of Hemingway. The vision is his own.
—Patricia Wright, MacArthur Fellow and Professor of Anthropology, Stony Brook University

david terry said...

Dear Ms. Browning (and, by extension, Mr.Safina),

Reading Mr. Safina's letter just now, I had the most unedifyingly middle-aged reaction possible.

My first thought was "Oh, wonderful!..Peter Matthiessen is still ALIVE??? That's so good to hear....".

I really am turning into my grandmother.

sincerely,

David Terry
www.davidterryart.com

Dominique said...

Well dear David Terry, funny you should say that, I just bought my younger son an old copy of Snow Leopard, thinking he would so appreciate the combination of Buddhist thinking and exploration. I would never call this a middle-aged reaction. Rather, you have entered the realm of timelessness, no?

Anyway, I'm still laughing over your last post in the Tiger Mom commentary. I really think someone should make a movie of you and Herve, and your mothers, and your childhoods....or at the very least, how about a children's book? What a delightful confluence of cross-ocean mothering.

Besides which, your grandmother sounds like she was a wonderful piece of work.

And Carl Safina, I'm delighted for your good fortune, and all the praise showered upon you from all quarters. And you may be excused for the self-promotion. You earned the right.

david terry said...

"...Rather, you have entered the realm of timelessness, no?"

Dear Ms. Browning,

To answer your question?...no.

In fact, I think I've done quite the opposite when, upon reading a well-written & informative article, my first reaction is to scan the page and see who's not dead yet.

My grandmother did this with the newspaper every morning for years. The 48 pt, bold headline could read "Japan Attacks Pearl Harbor!", "Nixon Resigns!", or "World Trade Center Destroyed by Terorrists"......and I can promise you that the only peep you'd hear out of her would be when she'd suddenly call out something like "That Nellie McNeal has got herself an article in the paper...I had no idea she was still ALIVE....she certainly can't be living on her own these days..."

As I said, I seem to be turning into my grandmother. I suppose I wouldn't be the first person who, after years of being unable to understand his family's most difficult member, simply turns around one day and realizes that he's become that relative (this happens with sons and fathers a LOT).

Experiencedly yours,

David Terry
www.davidterryart.com

Elizabeth English said...

Thanks a million for the heads-up on Carl Safina's book, Dominique! I've just added "The View from Lazy Point", "Voyage of the Turtle", "Song for the Blue Ocean", and "Eye of the Albatross" to my amazon.com wish list. His work reminds me a bit of Diane Ackerman's. One of her books is a top favorite of mine: "The Moon By Whale Light" (what a great title!). Another naturalist writer/poet I highly recommend is Annie Dillard. Her Pulitzer prize-winning "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek" is a beautiful masterpiece.