The Great Deep

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Throughout human experience the sea has exerted mysterious fascination and undeniable power over us. A shaper of civilizations, a road for commerce, an avenue of conquest, the great deep has brought fortune to some, death to others. Our mere contemplation of it colors our perceptions and expectations of the world. In THE GREAT DEEP, James Hamilton-Paterson examines, in a thoughtful, elegant fashion, this intricate relationship between human beings and the oceans of the world.

Hamilton-Paterson writes not from the confines of a book-lined study but from a wealth of actual experience. Whether he is taking the reader aboard an oceanographic survey vessel or explaining the mysterious beauty of coral reefs, Hamilton-Paterson writes from firsthand knowledge, and his simple but eloquent prose makes that experience real for the reader.

THE GREAT DEEP fits comfortably into that valued tradition of literature, especially English literature, which uses a central topic as the departure point for observations and meditations. The reader learns strange facts—that some waves take half a day to pass, or that islands in the North Atlantic dotted maps for centuries, only to vanish. There are episodes of tragic violence, such as piracy in the modern Philippines, and more muted loss, such as the destruction of island cultures through contact with modern civilization. And there is the sobering consideration of the perhaps irreversible damage being done to our world’s fishing grounds.

THE GREAT DEEP is an original and powerful evaluation of the major portion of our world, the oceans, the wonders they contain, and the effects they have had on us as human beings.

Sources for Further Study

The Atlantic. CCLXX, September, 1992, p. 122.

Booklist. LXXXVIII, July, 1992, p. 1907.

Chicago Tribune. September 13, 1992, XIV, p. 5.

The Guardian. September 13, 1992, p. 22.

Kirkus Reviews. LX, June 1, 1992, p. 705.

Library Journal. CXVII, June 15, 1992, p. 97.

The New York Times Book Review. XCVII, August 9, 1992, p. 6.

Publishers Weekly. CCXXXIX, June 15, 1992, p. 93.

USA Today. November 13, 1992, p. D5.

The Washington Post Book World. XXII, August 9, 1992, p. 2.