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Reviews of Move Like Water by Hannah Stowe

Move Like Water

My Story of the Sea

by Hannah Stowe

Move Like Water by Hannah Stowe X
Move Like Water by Hannah Stowe
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  • Published:
    Sep 2023, 288 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs
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About this Book

Book Summary

A book to sweep you away from the shore, into a wild world of water, whale, storm, and starlight— to experience what it's like to sail for weeks at a time with life set to a new rhythm.

As a young girl, Hannah Stowe was raised at the tide's edge on the Pembrokeshire coast of Wales, falling asleep to the sweep of the lighthouse beam. Now in her midtwenties, working as a marine biologist and sailor, Stowe draws on her professional experiences sailing tens of thousands of miles in the North Sea, North Atlantic, Mediterranean, Celtic Sea, and the Caribbean to explore the human relationship with wild waters. Why is it, she asks, that she and so many others have been drawn to life at sea—and what might the water around us be able to teach us?

Braiding her powerful and deeply personal narrative and illustrations with stories of six keystone marine creatures—the fire crow, sperm whale, wandering albatross, humpback whale, shearwater, and the barnacle—Stowe invites readers to fall in love, as she has, with the sea and those that call it home, and to discover the majesty, wonder, and vulnerability of the underwater world.

For fans of Rachel Carson and Annie Dillard, Move Like Water: My Story of the Sea is an inspiring, heartfelt hymn to the sea, a testament to finding and following a dream, and an unforgettable introduction to a deeply gifted nature writer of a new generation.

Excerpt
Move Like Water

There was never a time when I did not know the sea. As I lay in my cradle at my mother's feet, day after day, the salt wind blew around our home. It mingled with the honeysuckle that curled around her garden studio, sweet-scented and dappling light as she coaxed gentle worlds to paper with paint. The small, strong oak trees my father had planted when I was born bent and twisted to that wind, framing my world. A hushed roar, water on sand and stone as the tides ebbed and flowed, both rhythm and rhyme. At the start, it was only a lullaby. Throughout my childhood the weather was never far away. At night, I would nestle in my bed, tucked under the eaves in the attic of our cottage, snug next to the chimney breast, fire- warmed, as storms shook the slates from the roof, a ginger cat purring beside me. As I lay awake, I would watch for the beam, the beacon, of Strumble Head Lighthouse as it swept through the night, my companion in the ink hours. In the morning I ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Stowe's prose is dazzling throughout, beautifully poetic while simultaneously creating an atmosphere one can practically feel. Move Like Water is a gem of a book – a must-read for anyone interested in the sea or marine life, and highly recommended for those who enjoy top-notch memoirs. Stowe's exquisite prose makes this a book to be savored...continued

Full Review Members Only (622 words)

(Reviewed by Kim Kovacs).

Media Reviews

Daily Mail
Elegant, enthralling... . It's not simply that it intertwines Stowe's remarkable personal story with an incitement to shift how we view the world―or, in this instance, the seas. It's the writing itself. There are plenty of books about the sea, but few, if any, have the lyrical, almost visceral intensity of this one.

Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Stowe immerses readers in the sights, sounds, and rhythms of the ocean in her spellbinding debut... The result is an unforgettable plunge into the passions of an extraordinary storyteller.

Booklist
A briny love story... . Stowe wistfully explores the mysteries of water as she navigates the sometimes turbulent, often rousing flow of her life.

Kirkus Reviews
Nature lovers and sailors will savor Stowe's personal, thoughtful, science-filled voyages.

Author Blurb Charles Foster, author of Cry of the Wild and A Little Brown Sea
The shelves are awash with sea books. But Stowe is different. She doesn't just watch and describe the sea; she's part of it. It surges inside her and crashes out onto the page. The book's drenched with salt water. It fizzes, clicks, booms and screams. Tremendous.

Author Blurb Helen Scales, author of The Brilliant Abyss and Scientists in the Wild: Galápagos
Let Hannah's captivating prose transport you on a journey across the waves, feeling the wind and salt on your skin, and always watching out for the tantalising glimpse of a whale. You will be enthralled by her personal story, invigorated by her energy and determination, and persuaded to think deeply about the ocean, its living treasures and the human troubles they face.

Author Blurb Jay Griffiths, author of Wild
Exquisite in its intelligence and boundless in the fetch of its wave.

Author Blurb Lulah Ellender, author of Grounding: Finding Home in a Garden
Inspiring... . Hannah Stowe recounts her lifelong love affair with the sea and illuminates the complexities of our relationship with ocean ecosystems... . An urgent call to address the damage we're doing to the oceans, and a siren song to the beauty and power of the sea.

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Beyond the Book

Cetacean Trivia

Pakicetus inachus Much of biologist Hannah Stowe's memoir, Move Like Water, records her experiences on sailing vessels researching cetaceans – an entirely aquatic group of mammals that includes whales, dolphins and porpoises.  Some interesting trivia regarding these magnificent creatures:
 

  1. The fossil record shows the first cetaceans evolved from land-dwelling quadrupeds around 55.8 to 49 million years ago, in the Early Eocene epoch. Their ancestors were deer-like creatures that moved back into the sea, flippers replacing their legs over the eons.
  2. At up to 32 feet long, the orca (aka killer whale) is the largest member of the oceanic dolphin family. The common bottlenose dolphin, which defines the family for many people, ranges from 8 ...

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Read-Alikes

Read-Alikes Full readalike results are for members only

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