Coasting: The Sea Lion and the Lark
Subject: Natural History
There is a new presence on New Zealand's southern coast. Neville Peat, one of our finest observers of the natural world, takes us on a journey from Otago to the subantarctic and follows the life and migration of a sea lion. With the taut and accurate prose of a scientist, and the lyrical sense of an artist, Peat's compelling style lures us into gaining an immense amount of information.
In a work that is deeply intimate and wonderfully expansive, Peat takes us well beyond the physical. He delves into the emotional origins of myth, and reveals an impassioned respect and understanding of the close relationship between humans and animals. While exploring changing coastal habitat – blending ancient beliefs, local history, legend, and the natural sciences – Peat encounters a number of remarkable individuals along the way; sea dogs, old salts, and a mysterious drifter who follows the winds and tides. Here we gain the naturalist's sense of wonder, and the philosopher's contemplation of the mysterious presence we call nature.
He combines poetic and descriptive skills with a lightness of touch and still manages to convey a profound understanding of how all facets of the natural world interweave. A captivating work. Emma Neale