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Underland: A Deep Time Journey (2019)

de Robert Macfarlane

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
1,6455410,545 (4.09)86
In Underland, Macfarland delivers his masterpiece: an epic exploration of the Earth's underworlds as they exist in myth, literature, memory, and the land itself. He takes us on an extraordinary journey into our relationship with darkness, burial, and what lies beneath the surface of both place and mind. Traveling through "deep time" - the dizzying expanses of geologic time that stretch away from the present - he moves from the birth of the universe to a post-human future, from the prehistoric art of Norwegian sea caves to the blue depths of the Greenland ice cap, from Bronze Age funeral chambers to the catacomb labyrinth below Paris, and from the underground fungal networks through which trees communicate to a deep-sunk "hiding place" where nuclear waste will be stored for 100,000 years to come.… (més)
Afegit fa poc perbiblioteca privada, caedocyon, simonpockley, GregSloman, aml333, Byakhee, elbee53, Andrei109, Dzaowan
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Es mostren 1-5 de 53 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Robert Macfarlane is one of my favourite authors. His interest in language and place is just the stepping off point for a profound series of reflections on how we perceive the earth. With Underland we are taken beneath the earth. Fascinating as the different caverns are (each is quite extraordinary), the Chapter entitled 'The Red Dancers' appears to me to reach another level. Here Robert is on a personal quest and the tension mounts. ( )
  simonpockley | Feb 25, 2024 |
This one is worth reading just for MacFarlane’s sources. It felt like every other page had a reference to some other interesting book that I immediately added to my list.
You’ll learn a good deal reading this book, and the author has a knack for packing in detail about history, science, art so that it doesn’t feel pedantic or too long winded.
While we are clearly dealing with a masterful writer here (I feel like I can smell the sweat and blood spilled over every revision) it sometimes felt a bit overwrought to me. It’s clear the author was deeply influenced by W.G. Sebald, even quoting him a few times. But Sebald used his narrative voice to depersonalize his writing, allowing him to flit from topic to topic without getting bogged down with the weight of personality. And while I’m not able to read Sebald in the original German, his writing always seemed down to earth and loose in a way that almost rambled. Macfarlane is clearly going for something else here, trying his best to admix travelogue , high lit, and pop sci in equal parts. He mostly succeeds, but there were many points in this book where I became uncomfortably conscious of the fact that I was reading, and there were no points where I lost myself. Given the subject matter, that feels like a missed opportunity.
There were other times while reading that I felt like this mixing of styles just made it hard to understand. At points, the writer would go into depth describing the scientific nuances of what he was seeing, as a science reporter might. At others, he is content to leave things strangely ambiguous, as when he encounters “white creatures” living in an underground lake on the Italian/Slovenian border. I kept expecting him to explain what they were- he had done so for everything else so far. And yet he seems with leaving us all in mystery. He does this several times throughout the book, and I can’t imagine why. Does he leave these moments ambiguous to heighten the alien nature of the landscape? Or did he get so distracted by his flights of poetry that he forgot to circle back? It may sound like a small problem but I found the incongruity in tone a little weird.
One more thing- I found myself feeling petty for thinking this, but I found the endless descriptions of the authors traveling companions and friends to be a little annoying. He seems to be fascinated with these people, quoting their little jokes and rhapsodizing about their unconventional life styles. I wasn’t so interested.
All in all a fine nature read
( )
  hdeanfreemanjr | Jan 29, 2024 |
Rob Macfarlane has taken some extraordinary risks to take us to some extraordinary places under the earth including caves, mines, sewers, glacier sinkholes, and nuclear waste facilities.

It is all told with a love of the natural world, mythology, literature, history, and science unmatched in many good books I have read lately.

But his takeaway from this adventure is that we are risking something more precious than all the hydrocarbons taken from the earth: our survival as a species.

The irony that we store our most sacred trash underground no less than the bodies of our loved ones is not lost on Macfarlane. If anything this book is one long musing on the relevance of our trash to determining the mission of our species, whether it is to befoul the earth for all other species or provide a signpost to species which come after us, much as the markings of cave paintings in France, Scandinavia, and Spain tell us something of the species which preceded us.

His portrayal of the coast of Norway and the ice flows of Greenland surpass many a photograph.

His portrayal of the adventurers who plumb the depths are no less captivating. ( )
  MylesKesten | Jan 23, 2024 |
Of Macfarlane's loosely-thematically-linked books, I have enjoyed this one most. There's plenty of little-known natural history here. ( )
  Treebeard_404 | Jan 23, 2024 |
This was such a mixed bag for me. I loved the stories Macfarlane tells. So much of what he shares about our connection to the Underland is absolutely fascinating. My problem was with the writing style. I found it dense and meandering, self-indulgent and confusing. I kept having to re-read entire paragraphs because my mind kept wandering.

If you don't mind wading through some elegant writing weighed down with tons of facts and bits and pieces of disconnected stories, then give this a try. The narrative doesn't flow. It takes work to read this book -- UNDERLAND reads very much like something written by an academic, for academics. ( )
  Elizabeth_Cooper | Oct 27, 2023 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 53 (següent | mostra-les totes)
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Is it dark down there
Where the grass grows through the hair?
Is it dark in the under-land of Null?

Helen Adam, ‘Down there in the dark’, 1952
The void migrates to the surface...

’Advances In geophysics’, 2016
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The way into the underland is through the riven trunk of an old ash tree.
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In Underland, Macfarland delivers his masterpiece: an epic exploration of the Earth's underworlds as they exist in myth, literature, memory, and the land itself. He takes us on an extraordinary journey into our relationship with darkness, burial, and what lies beneath the surface of both place and mind. Traveling through "deep time" - the dizzying expanses of geologic time that stretch away from the present - he moves from the birth of the universe to a post-human future, from the prehistoric art of Norwegian sea caves to the blue depths of the Greenland ice cap, from Bronze Age funeral chambers to the catacomb labyrinth below Paris, and from the underground fungal networks through which trees communicate to a deep-sunk "hiding place" where nuclear waste will be stored for 100,000 years to come.

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