Finalist: Deep Blue Home, by Julia Whitty

Deep Blue Home: An Intimate Ecology of Our Wild Ocean

by Julia Whitty (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

The presence of the voice of Deep Blue Home in its world is itself the presence of any one of its creatures. At times fragile, at others robust. Neither voice nor creature doing any more than it had to do to accomplish the goal. No less either. The goal being to simply continue to exist on this Earth. Such a very humble goal yet, these days, a goal no one of us can take for granted any longer. We speak of Whitty’s voice, yes, but just as all voices are also all the voices a writer has ever heard, and in turn those voices they’ve heard, this voice is both individual and collective, humble and grand, drawing together Baja and Newfoundland, religions poly- and monotheistic, human emotions and jealousies. Yet as intimate as the voice is, the vision is panoramic, at times cinematic. In this book, “we sit,” [with her], “on the beach as night steals away even the reflections of the visual world, leaving us immersed in a theater of sound; the hiss of withdrawing waves, the fluttering tails of fish thrashing the gravel, the whistle and splash of bird hurtling from air to water, the jump cuts from life to genesis to death.”

—Richard Nash, Selection Committee

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