Deep Water


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About the Author

James Bradley is a writer and critic. His books include the novels Wrack, The Deep Field, The Resurrectionist, Clade, and Ghost Species; a book of poetry, Paper Nautilus; and The Penguin Book of the Ocean. Alongside his books, James has an established career as an essayist and reviewer, whose work has appeared in publications including The Guardian, The Monthly, Sydney Review of Books, Times Literary Supplement, Meanjin, and Griffith Review. His fiction has won or been shortlisted for a wide range of Australian and international literary awards, and his nonfiction has been shortlisted twice for the Bragg Prize for Science Writing and nominated for a Walkley Award. In 2012, he won the Pascall Award for Australia’s Critic of the Year. He is currently an Honorary Associate at the Sydney Environment Centre at the University of Sydney.


‘Deep Water is a major achievement; a vast fathoming of the pasts, presents, and futures of the world’s oceans and seas. Bradley’s skills both as novelist and essayist converge here to create this wise, compassionate, and urgent book, characterised throughout by a clarity of prose and a bracing moral gaze that searches water, self, and reader.’
*Robert Macfarlane, author of Underland*

‘Bradley vividly conveys the awe-inspiring scale of the deep seas, both in space and time. Celebrating our blue planet and highlighting the perils it faces as a result of our own greed and ignorance.’
*The Guardian*

‘No part of the Earth system is more vital to the human past and future than the world ocean, and few indeed are better qualified to tell its stories than James Bradley. A love letter and a warning, Deep Water is a work of rare scholarship, wide range, and fierce urgency.’
*Caspar Henderson, author of The Book of Barely Imagined Beings*

‘Deep Water is written with panache and argued with compelling clarity. The result is a provocative, engrossing read.’
*The Observer*

‘As someone who loves and lives on the Ocean, I am inspired by James Bradley’s new book. Deep Water dives deep into the ocean’s heart— James has a magical mix of personal tales, science, and a powerful message to care for our seas. It’s a blend of wonder at the ocean’s splendour and a push to protect it. This book is an incredible journey that showcases the sea's greatness and why we need to collectively act and preserve it.’
*Laird Hamilton, surf legend and author of Liferider: heart, body, soul, and life beyond the ocean*

‘Teeming with mysteries, wonders, and heartbreaking facts, this beautiful, lucid hymn to the sea is a reminder of what we still have, what we stand to lose, and why we must never stop fighting to save our home.’
*Tim Winton, author of Cloudstreet*

‘A sublime work, quite literally: vast, beautiful, sometimes frightening. Bradley is a talented scholar, surveying widely in various disciplines. But he keeps his novelist’s eyes for poignant intimacy: moments of love and grief, curiosity and rage. If you care about our oceans, submerge yourself in Deep Water.’
*Damon Young, author of The Art of Reading*

‘What a wondrous book. In vivid, urgent prose, James Bradley takes us on a journey through oceanic worlds. Epic in scope and charged with a compulsive capitalist critique, Deep Water balances the grief of environmental catastrophe with a profound sense of awe and possibility. There is no false hope here. But there is hope.’
*Billy Griffiths, author of Deep Time Dreaming: uncovering ancient Australia*

‘A sublime exploration of one of Earth’s most immense, powerful, and obscure entities, awash with humanity and wisdom. Deep Water will transform how you think about the ocean.’
*Richard Fisher, author of The Long View*

‘Astonishing in both its depth and breadth, Deep Water is an incisive, thoughtful exploration of the complicated and crucial relationships we have with our oceans. James Bradley has written a tour de force at a moment when we need it most.’
*Juli Berwald, author of Life on the Rocks and Spineless*

‘This is a book that offers much, and should find a space in every library, on every home bookshelf. I read with eyes open wide, I was fascinated and felt connected, startled, and in shock, but also energised and hopeful. This is a book that feels as though it is for everyone, it’s inclusive and welcoming even as it plunges deeply into the environmental emergency we have created.’

‘Bradley weaves natural history, climate studies, and trivia into an elegant whole that drives home the dire threat global warming poses to the ocean, all delivered in plaintive prose. It’s a galvanising call to action.’
*Publishers Weekly*

‘A novelist, activist, and naturalist writes a paean to the sea … A satisfying tribute to the wonders of the ocean and the myriad dangers it faces.’
*Kirkus Reviews*

‘What does it mean to live on an ocean planet? It’s an important question, one that has shaped human history and will define our future. James Bradley provides fresh and sometimes surprising perspectives as he guides his readers toward “seeing the world through the lens of the ocean.” Covering a highly varied range of topics … Bradley offers a unique view of our world and our place in it. A must read for conservationists and ocean enthusiasts.’
*Edith Widder, PhD, author of Below the Edge of Darkness*

‘Brilliant, thought-provoking and painstakingly researched, James Bradley’s Deep Water invites readers to reconsider our place in the grand tapestry of existence. Acknowledging that we are not necessarily the dominant species, the book reveals the interconnectedness and kinship we share with all life forms.’
*Jill Heinerth, author of Into the Planet*

‘[A] mesmerising work of nonfiction that will inspire awe and make you weep. It’s a rare work of nonfiction that can make the reader weep with wonder then grief from one sentence to the next … [P]aints a portrait of a world not just teeming with life, but whose cycles have a profound impact on our terrestrial existence … This whole book is a subtle but mesmerising call to action; a reminder of just how extraordinary this planet’s oceans are, and a plea to every individual to keep fighting to save what’s left of them.’
*The Sydney Morning Herald*

‘Like all good nature writing, Deep Water invokes the beauty of the nonhuman world in terms both down-to-earth and mythopoetic … Dazzling.’
*The Saturday Paper*

Praise for Ghost Species: ‘Ghost Species is a perceptive and timely tale about what it really means to take care of the Earth … spelling out ... where ordinary folk will fit in the future that Elon Musk and Bill Gates built.’
*The Times*

Praise for Ghost Species: ‘Ghost Species is absorbing, sensitively written, and full of heart. A landmark novel in today’s environmentally ravaged world.’
*Anne Charnock, author of the Arthur C. Clarke 2018 Novel Award-winning Dreams Before the Start of Time*

Praise for Clade: ‘Moving and nuanced characterisations distinguish this subtle look at an Earth suffering the consequences of climate collapse.’
*Publishers Weekly, starred review*

Praise for Clade: ‘A stunningly beautiful novel, characterised as much by lyricism as pointed critique of how humans are stewarding the planet.’
*Chicago Review of Books*

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