The Face of the Deep

Thomas Farber, Author Mercury House $14.95 (192p) ISBN 978-1-56279-112-4
Avid surfer and island-hopper that he is, Farber frequently writes about the lure of water (On Water; Through a Liquid Mirror). ""What is it,"" he muses, ""about this warm ocean that can so obliterate troubles, drain or absorb them...?"" From his home in Berkeley, Calif., Farber continually returns to Hawaii where he taught for years, describing Hawaii as ""a kind of Vegas; all kinds of mainland human flotsam wash up on its shore,"" a place where innumerable surfers stare out on a vast expanse awaiting the next swell, a wild wave. During placid seas, a surfer tells him a swell is on the way: ""It'll be like first love."" But this small, rambling book goes far beyond surfing the watery world. Farber begins with Isla del Coco off the coast of Costa Rica. His sojourn on the mostly uninhabited island is for diving and exploring the realm of the deep, its wonders and its dangers, with vivid speculations on its history of unfound buried treasure troves. He heads for various Pacific stopovers--Fiji, Samoa, California, recalling the well- and little-known who have been there before. Offhand incomplete references to friends at home interrupt the narrative throughout, a disorienting flaw that gives Farber's book a disconnected impact. Perhaps he is trying to create mood, a flow (like water) of thoughts as they happen. Save for a few exceptional passages, Farber's book leaves the impression of aimless drifting and obscures whatever the face of the deep might be. Agent, Ellen Levine.(Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/01/1998
Release date: 11/01/1998
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