Life Between the Tides

Adam Nicolson. Farrar Straus and Giroux, $30 (384p) ISBN 978-0-374-25143-7
Ondaatje Prize winner Nicolson studies the life that teems inside tide pools in this evocative meditation (after The Seabird’s Cry). “Creatures” are the ocean’s “genes,” he writes, and sheds light on the life that lives along the coast, among them the common prawn, “minuscule adventurers, at home in this world, with pitch-perfect neutral buoyancy, floating in their stillness neither up nor down” and whose limbs serve “different functions—manducatory, for chewing, ambulatory, for walking, natatory, for swimming.” There’s a fascinating section on “the dramas of crab life,” as Nicolson baits the creatures with bacon and watches males “fight hard over access to females.” A chapter on vibrant, many-colored anemones references a young T.S. Eliot, whose family spent summers near Gloucester, Mass., where the poet saw “a sea anemone for the first time,” an event that influenced Eliot’s writing, Nicolson suggests. The author’s wonder is infectious, and he makes a convincing case that to better understand the sea, people must pay more attention: “Go to the rocks and the living will say hello.” As poetic as it is enlightening, this is tough to put down. Illus. Agent: Zoë Pagnamenta, the Zoë Pagnamenta Agency. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 10/07/2021
Release date: 02/22/2022
Genre: Nonfiction
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