cover image The Sea Inside

The Sea Inside

Philip Hoare. Melville (Random, dist.), $27.95 (384p) ISBN 978-1-61219-359-5

Hoare (The Whale: In Search of the Giants of the Sea) takes readers on a leisurely and lyrical tour of the world's waters and their inhabitants. A regular visitor to the sea near his home in England, Hoare shares his love and fascination for nature of all kinds, from the Eurasian oystercatcher and seals to the vestigial structures humans possess that provide evidence of ancestry. Hoare's writing reads like a postcard or journal demarcating his travels. On the Isle of Wight, he discusses ravens and the life of pilgrims. He encounters sperm whales around the Azores, sharing how they hear sound and make vibrations, and blue whales in the Indian Ocean, contemplating how near they came to extinction due to hunting. A journey to Tasmania reminds Hoare of his ancestors who landed there and brings to mind the haunting tale of the Tasmanian tiger, possibly hunted to extinction decades ago but with rumored sightings in recent years. Hoare swims with dolphins, observes a porpoise autopsy, and visits the island of Kapiti, an avian reserve. Hoare's writing awakens the senses with visions, sounds, and smells of the ocean; his delight and interest in nature will encourage readers to look around with new eyes. Agent: Gillon Aitken, Aitken Alexander Associates. (Apr.)