Time song Journeys in search of a submerged land

Julia Blackburn

Book - 2019

"From the award-winning author of the memoir The Three of Us, a lyrical exploration--part travelogue and part history--of the area beneath the North Sea which, until 6,000 years ago, was home to a rich ecosystem and human settlement. Shortly after her husband's death, Julia Blackburn became fascinated with Doggerland, the stretch of land that once connected Great Britain to Europe but is now subsumed by the North Sea. She was driven to explore the lives of the people who lived there--s...tudying its fossil record, as well as human artifacts that have been discovered near the area. Now, she brings her reader along on her journey across Great Britain and parts of Continental Europe, introducing us to the paleontologists, archaeologists, fishermen, and fellow Doggerland enthusiasts she meets along the way. As Doggerland begins to come into focus, what emerges is a profound meditation on time, a sense of infinity as going backwards, and an intimation of the immensity of everything that has already passed through its time on earth and disappeared"--

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Subjects
Genres
Travel writing
Published
New York : Pantheon Books, a division of Penguin, Random House LLC [2019]
Edition
First United States edition
Language
English
Item Description
Includes index.
"Originally published in Great Britain by Jonathan Cape, an imprint of Vintage Publishing, Penguin Random House, UK, London in 2019"--Title page verso.
Physical Description
ix, 292 pages : illustrations, maps ; 22 cm
ISBN
9781101871676
1101871679
Main Author
Julia Blackburn (author)
Other Authors
Enrique Brinkmann (illustrator)
  • Old time
  • Middle time
  • No time at all.
Review by Library Journal Reviews

Brexiteers notwithstanding, Great Britain was once connected to continental Europe by land that sank beneath the North Sea about 6,000 years ago. Called Doggerland, it's been dragged to yield some animal remains, plus prehistoric tools and weapons. Blackburn, a multi-award-nominated author of fiction and nonfiction, became intrigued by Doggerland after her husband's death and here shares her encounters with paleontologists, archaeologists, fishermen, and others about her new enthusiasm. Copyright 2019 Library Journal.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Award-winning author Blackburn (Old Man Goya) brings her creative energy to the lost prehistoric worlds of northwestern Europe. Doggerland, a region now submerged beneath the North Sea, once connected Britain to continental Europe. Prehistoric humans, mammoths, and other Ice Age denizens once roamed over a landscape that appeared and disappeared over hundreds of thousands of years. In addition to the content, which itself is unique and rarely explored, the book's presentation is extraordinary. There are poems about natural processes and human evolution; seemingly tangential, personal narratives that arrive at an illuminating point; and informational yet highly readable scientific discussions, such as a vivid description of a Netsilik Eskimo hunting party. The text flows like water, almost dreamlike. Brinkmann's stylistic drawings, scattered throughout, resemble cave art. A series of Doggerland maps follows through the work, a chronological presentation illustrating the unrecognizable topography of 18,000 years ago up to the more familiar territory of 7,000 years ago. Those seeking a more straightforward work on the Ice Age may prefer Jamie Woodward's The Ice Age, but Blackburn offers a visionary, memorable account. VERDICT Exploring natural history as part of humanity, this unique, artistic, and original work will be enjoyed by a wide range of readers. [See Prepub Alert, 2/18/19.]—Jeffrey Meyer, Mt. Pleasant P.L., IA Copyright 2019 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

What people think is lost never entirely leaves, posits novelist and biographer Blackburn (The Emperor's Lost Island) in this lyrical exploration of Doggerland, the country that until 6,000 years ago connected Britain with mainland Europe and now lies under the North Sea. Alternating chapters of prose with prose-poems she calls "time songs," Blackburn creates an impressionistic picture of a place that is both gone and yet still there, its landscape partly intact beneath the waves. "Trying to see through the fact of absence is what this book is mostly about," writes Blackburn, who also reflects on the recent loss of her beloved husband. Along the way, she visits with experts on Doggerland—related to the Danish word dag, meaning "dagger," which also gave the dogwood its name—and hikes through countryside near her home in England and elsewhere that resembles what Doggerland may have been like: icy in the winter, marshy in the summer. Like one of the scientists she meets on her quest, Blackburn believes life is a process that "does not begin with birth or end with death," but "is a trajectory in which there is no finite end." This sweet, sad book will leave its readers meditating on loss and timelessness. (Aug.) Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Blends travelogue and history in a lyrical exploration of Doggerland, once connected to Britain, that draws on myriad disciplines to explore its human settlements and rich ecosystem before it was subsumed by the North Sea 6,000 years ago. Illustrations.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"From the award-winning author of the memoir The Three of Us, a lyrical exploration--part travelogue and part history--of the area beneath the North Sea which, until 6,000 years ago, was home to a rich ecosystem and human settlement. Shortly after her husband's death, Julia Blackburn became fascinated with Doggerland, the stretch of land that once connected Great Britain to Continental Europe but is now subsumed by the North Sea. She was driven to explore the lives of the people who lived there--studyingits fossil record, as well as human artifacts that have been unearthed near the area. Now, she brings her reader along on her journey to discover what Doggerland left behind, introducing us to the paleontologists, archaeologists, fishermen, and fellow Doggerland enthusiasts she meets along the way. As Doggerland begins to come into focus, what emerges is a profound meditation on time, a sense of infinity as going backward and an intimation of the immensity of everything that has already passed through its time on earth and disappeared"--

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Julia Blackburn has always collected things that hold stories about the past, especially the very distant past: mammoth bones, little shells that happen to be two million years old, a flint shaped as a weapon long ago. Shortly after her husband’s death, Blackburn became fascinated with Doggerland, the stretch of land that once connected Great Britain to Continental Europe but is now subsumed by the North Sea. She was driven to explore the lives of the people who lived there—studying its fossil record, as well as human artifacts that have been unearthed near the area.In Time Song, Blackburn brings us along on her journey to discover what Doggerland left behind, introducing us to the paleontologists, archaeologists, fishermen and fellow Doggerland enthusiasts she meets along the way. She sees the footprints of early humans fossilized in the soft mud of an estuary alongside the scattered pockmarks made by rain falling eight thousand years ago. She visits a cave where the remnants of a Neanderthal meal have turned to stone. In Denmark she sits beside Tollund Man, who seems to be about to wake from a dream, even though he had lain in a peat bog since the start of the Iron Age. As Doggerland begins to come into focus, what emerges is a profound meditation on time, a sense of infinity as going backward and an intimation of the immensity of everything that has already passed through its time on earth and disappeared.