Penguin. Sept. 2019. 256p. illus. ISBN 9780143134459. $17; ebk. ISBN 9780525506256. ANTHRO
Scottish poet Jamie (creative writing, Univ. Stirling; Sightlines), winner of the John Burroughs Medal, has penned a series of essays that combine memoir, archaeology, natural history, and travelog. The principal pieces chronicle her participation in two archaeological digs and a visit to a Tibetan village in China during the time of the Tiananmen Square protests. Her interest in Inuit objects leads her to Quinhagak, AK, where she participates as a volunteer in a dig to uncover Yup’ik artifacts more than 500 years old. The author explores the tundra and the culture of Yup’ik peoples, both past and present. In Westray, one of the Orkney Islands of Scotland, she helps discover villages of Bronze Age and Neolithic farmers while contemplating the past and present-day lives of the people who live there. As a young woman, she explores Xiahe, an ethnically Tibetan town in China, reflecting on the current events the region is experiencing.
VERDICT A fascinating, lyrical, wide-ranging work sharing thoughts on past and present that will appeal to a wide range of readers, including those interested in memoirs and reflections on the world around us.

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