Awarded the 2019 Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize for Nature Writing
From the bestselling, multi-award-winning author of Landmarks, The Old Ways and The Lost Words - an unmissable journey into the hidden worlds beneath our feet.
'Into the underland we have long placed that which we fear and wish to lose, and that which we love and wish to save . . . '
From the vast underground mycelial networks by which trees communicate to the ice-blue depths of glacial moulins, and from North Yorkshire to the Lofoten Islands, Robert Macfarlane traces a voyage through the worlds beneath our feet. He reaches back into the deep history of the planet, through the layers of rock and ancient buried objects, and forward to the future, the legacy of the anthropocene and the world we bequeath our descendants.
Underland is Macfarlane at his dazzling best - the lyrical, the political and the philosophical come together in this profound exploration of the relationship between landscape and the human heart.
About the Author
Robert Macfarlane won the Guardian First Book Award, the Somerset Maugham Award, and the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award for his first book, Mountains of the Mind. His second, The Wild Places, won three prizes and was adapted for the BBC. The Old Ways was joint winner of the Dolman Travel Book of the Year Award, and shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize and eight other awards. He is a Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge.
a brilliant, thrilling, terrifying work of literature, making me want to think more adventurously and live more deeply. * Amy Liptrot *
All Macfarlane's books are urgings to take a closer look at the environment we live in, and at the natural world especially. They are perception-shifters. And with its darker, delving subject matter counter-weighing its lyricism, Underland is a magnificent feat of writing, travelling and thinking that feels genuinely frontier-pushing, unsettling and exploratory * Evening Standard *
Robert Macfarlane is a magician with words. In Underland he shows us how to see in the dark. His writing is like a vortex... Once caught, you're pulled deeper and deeper with each page -- Andrea Wulf, best-selling author of 'The Invention of Nature'
Devastating, lyrical, blazingly vivid... An examination of the darknesses invisible beneath our feet. The book's great power comes from Macfarlane's deliberate turn away from despair and toward a deliberate, loving, and luminous sense of awe -- Lauren Groff
Robert Macfarlane's writing reminds us of the astonishing variety of things you can see when you go at walking speed, and of how strange and rich the world is -- Philip Pullman
The great nature writer, and nature poet, of this generation * Wall Street Journal *
Exquisite. [Robert Macfarlane] evokes so vividly places to which I and probably you will never go, and at the eeriness of the places themselves and the sense of vast scale they restore to us at a time when it can feel like the world has shrunken around us -- Rebecca Solnit
An epic descent into a series of underground and underwater landscapes * Financial Times *
Beautifully written and wise, this haunting book is a treasure... It reads like a seamless dive, crawl, and trek through deep time, in sense-rich landscapes, accompanied by fascinating views of the human saga. Its unique spell is irresistible -- Diane Ackerman
Beautifully and bravely balanced... This is a radical book in every sense. It goes as deep as it can, unafraid of the risk that what it finds will turn everything on its head * The Oldie *
Thrilling and soulful, raw and erudite. Robert Macfarlane writes of his astonishing subterranean explorations with wondrous, indelible power... Underland is a profound reckoning with humankind's self-imperiled position in nature's eternal order. It is a book of revelations -- Philip Gourevitch
Robert Macfarlane has long provided us with some of the most distinctive and sensitive thinking about how humans understand and experience the terrestrial world. Underland [is] his most urgent, universal, and expansive book yet -- Francisco Cantu
What a total delight. Once again, so many enlivening encounters along paths less frequently trod. Macfarlane remains our perfect guide, reminding us there's so much in the world to wonder at -- Benedict Allen
Eye-opening, lyrical and moving...capturing the poetry beneath the science. * Publisher's Weekly *
Underland is a startling and memorable book, charting invisible and vanishing worlds. Macfarlane has made himself Orpheus, the poet who ventures down to the darkest depths and returns - frighteningly alone-to sing of what he has seen * New Statesman *
You'd be crazy not to read this book * The Sunday Times *
Marvellous... Neverending curiosity, generosity of spirit, erudition, bravery and clarity... This is a book well worth reading * The Times *
Extraordinary... at once learned and readable, thrilling and beautifully written * Observer *