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The Book of Unconformities by Hugh Raffles
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The Book of Unconformities

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The Book of Unconformities by Hugh Raffles
Hardcover $30.00
Aug 25, 2020 | ISBN 9780804197991

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  • Aug 25, 2020 | ISBN 9780804197991

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“Among the most mysterious books I’ve ever read—a dense, dark star . . . Profoundly random . . . What intuition the book requires, what detective work—and what magic tricks it performs. Stones speak, lost time leaves a literal record and, strangest of all, the consolation the writer seeks in the permanence of rocks, in their vast history, he finds instead in their vulnerability, caprice and still-unfolding story.”
—Parul Sehgal, The New York Times

“In a high-voltage jolt of insight, Mr. Raffles converts what might seem a dry scientific concept into a potent literary metaphor to help anyone whose sense of time has been fractured by loss . . . [The Book of Unconformities] is so rich in erudition and prose-poetry that I read it like a glutton, tearing off big bites of lost time until I was sated . . . Vivid . . . Exquisite . . . A poignant and healing descent into deep time and its relevance to the human experience.”
—Robert M. Thorson, Wall Street Journal

“A spellbinding time travelogue . . . Raffles’s dense, associative, essayistic style mirrors geological transformation, compressing and folding chronologies like strata in metamorphic rock . . . Mesmerizing.”
Harpers Magazine

“A work of poetic science, a smashing together of the human and the natural world, of cultures separated by time. Just as a geologic unconformity, this is erudite and artistic.”
Library Journal

“Poetic . . . Each section is packed with vivid entertaining tales . . . The text shimmers with rangy curiosity, precise pictorial descriptions, well-narrated history, a sympathetic eye for the natural world, and a deft, light scholarly touch. The mood is as unpredictable as next week’s weather, as Raffles remains keenly attuned to the politics and personalities that move the action along. As panoptical and sparking as the crystal contained in many of the author’s objects of study.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“How much we learn in this exhaustively researched book on the peoples of precolonial Manhattan, Neolithic Hebrides, Greenland, Svarlbard!  And of the bedrock upon which they lived, the stones that shot up from the bowels of earth and crashed from outer space, petrified from animals and plants, cut and carved.”
—Alphonso Lingis, author of Dangerous Emotions

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