Move Like Water: My Story of the Sea

Tin House. Sept. 2023. 272p. ISBN 9781959030102. pap. $24.95. MEMOIR
Stowe, an artist, sailor, and scientist, fell in love with the sea while growing up in Pembrokeshire on the Welsh coast. Boating and sailing were early passions; Stowe recalls a stint working on tourist boats, when she endured long days of salt and sun with no mandated breaks. The misogyny was also hard to weather; she writes that the patriarchal bias in this boating industry is so strong that women have been nearly excluded altogether. But that didn’t stop her. Stowe takes readers from the Celtic Sea to the Mediterranean to the North Atlantic as she ably conveys the intricacies of the ocean’s inhabitants and their profound importance to society. The book’s supple language recalls the styles of Helen Macdonald and Dorthe Nors. Stowe’s rapture with regard to the sea and the creatures in it, however, is completely her own. She is currently working on a degree in marine biology and studying for the Yachtmaster exam, all while dealing with crippling back pain due to an injury in college.
VERDICT Even for readers with no knowledge of or particular interest in sperm whales, albatrosses, or barnacles, this highly recommended memoir can be enjoyed on the level of its prose alone.
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