Excerpt from Underwater to Get Out of the Rain by Trevor Norton, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Underwater to Get Out of the Rain

A Love Affair With the Sea

by Trevor Norton

Underwater to Get Out of the Rain by Trevor Norton X
Underwater to Get Out of the Rain by Trevor Norton
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jun 2006, 400 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2007, 400 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


From the surface I could see a large dome about fifteen feet below. I took a deep breath, folded my body at the waist then lifted my legs out of the water. Their weight caused me to slide effortlessly down. The mask squashed against my face and it felt as if a needle was being inserted into my ears. The water was closing in on me. Everything with air in it – my lungs, sinuses and ears – was being compressed. Even a foot below the surface the compression on my chest was equivalent to a weight of over 180 pounds. It was the same on my abdomen, pushing the diaphragm up into the chest cavity and squeezing it still further. Three feet underwater the pressure differ­ential is so great that it is impossible to suck down air through a tube from the surface, but I soon learned that snorting into the mask pushed it out again, and swallowing hard took care of my ears.

It was a painful lesson, but I couldn’t be distracted. Being under­water was more exciting than I had ever imagined. A kaleidoscope of new images overwhelmed me: the elegant untidiness of lazily swaying seaweed, the uncontrived encounters with silver sand eels and crusty crabs. I had walked through some woods without seeing a single squirrel or badger, but here wild animals came out to meet me.

On the bottom, the dome I had seen turned out to be a ship’s rusty boiler and I stared into its dark and dangerous interior. Who knew what might be lurking inside? In the surrounding sand, softly lifting and settling in the swell, I found a rudder and a brass propeller with its shaft. It was my first wreck and it had waited sixty years for me to find it. I surfaced breathless, more from excitement than lack of air.

I went down again and again. Suddenly, while I was below, something stabbed the water in front of me, a dark javelin in a cone of bubbles. It transformed into a cormorant. Having misfished for a sand eel, it escaped back to the sky. It was the most wonderful thing I had ever seen and I have never seen it since.

This, I decided, was the real world. The air-bound attic up there beyond the surface was no place to live. This fresh and alive sea was everything that the land wasn’t. We plod around on land, victims of gravity. It is merely a surface on which to stand, the wind a mischievous nuisance. But underwater, weightless and often powerless in the current, you become one with the flow.

On my final return to the surface a fluttering shoal of pollack parted to let me pass. They were neither anxious nor curious. I was just one of the boys. It was as if the sea had been expecting me.

Sitting on the rocks and trying to dry myself in the wind, I watched a heron pluck green crabs from the pools then soar away like a tired pterodactyl. Flights of knots and oystercatchers came in with the tide to feed or to loiter on one leg. It was a super place to shiver. There were a couple of cormorants chatting on a rock. Perhaps one was my cormorant, boasting to his chum about the one that got away: ‘I saw the queerest thing today. Put me right off my fishing. So ugly. And it couldn’t dive for toffee.’

The next day I sawed off the end of my snorkel and threw away the ping-pong ball. I would never again mind the taste of the sea. After all, the world was seven-tenths salty water and so was I, and the chemical composition of my blood was almost identical to that of sea water. The ocean was truly in my veins and briefly, when still in the womb, I even had gill slits.

Copyright 2006, Trevor Norton. Reproduced with permission of the publisher, Da Capo press. All reights reserved.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Love and Other Consolation Prizes
    by Jamie Ford
    Love and Other Consolation Prizes was read and reviewed by 22 BookBrowse members for First ...
  • Book Jacket: The Judge Hunter
    The Judge Hunter
    by Christopher Buckley
    In London 1664, Balthasar de St. Michel or "Balty" has no discernable skills besides pestering his ...
  • Book Jacket: Star of the North
    Star of the North
    by D.B. John
    It's summertime. You're looking for an absorbing thriller while you flop at the beach. ...
  • Book Jacket: The Abbot's Tale
    The Abbot's Tale
    by Conn Iggulden
    The Abbot's Tale purports to be a re-discovered manuscript written by a real historical figure,...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Salt Houses by Hala Alyan

From a dazzling new literary voice, a debut novel about a Palestinian family caught between present and past.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Summer Wives
    by Beatriz Williams

    An electrifying postwar fable of love, class, power and redemption set on an island off the New England coast.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win A Place for Us

A Place For Us

A deeply moving story of love, identity and belonging--the first novel from Sarah Jessica Parker's new imprint.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

H, W H A Problem

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.