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  • Published: 12 April 2024
  • ISBN: 9781761346446
  • Imprint: Penguin Random House Australia Audio
  • Format: Audio Download
  • Length: 14 hr 50 min
  • Narrator: Stephen James King
  • RRP: $36.99

Deep Water

The world in the ocean

Through history, science, nature writing, and environmentalism, Deep Water invites you to explore the deepest recesses of our natural world.

'Teeming with mysteries, wonders and heartbreaking facts, this beautiful, lucid hymn to the sea is a reminder of what we still have, what we stand to lose, and why we must never stop fighting to save our home.'
Tim Winton

The ocean has shaped and sustained life on Earth from the beginning of time. Its vast waters are alive with meaning, and connect every living thing on Earth.

Deep Water is a hymn to the beauty, mystery and wonder of the ocean. Weaving together science, history and personal experience, it offers vital new ways of understanding not just humanity's relationship with the planet, but our past – and perhaps most importantly, our future.

  • Published: 12 April 2024
  • ISBN: 9781761346446
  • Imprint: Penguin Random House Australia Audio
  • Format: Audio Download
  • Length: 14 hr 50 min
  • Narrator: Stephen James King
  • RRP: $36.99

About the author

James Bradley

James Bradley is a writer and critic. His books include the novels Wrack, The Deep Field, The Resurrectionist, Clade and Ghost Species, a book of poetry, Paper Nautilus, and The Penguin Book of the Ocean. His essays and articles have appeared in The Monthly, The Guardian, Sydney Review of Books, Griffith Review, Meanjin, the Weekend Australian and the Sydney Morning Herald. In 2012 he won the Pascall Prize for Australia’s Critic of the Year, and he has been shortlisted twice for the Bragg Prize for Science Writing and nominated for a Walkley Award. He lives in Sydney.

Also by James Bradley

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Praise for Deep Water

Teeming with mysteries, wonders and heartbreaking facts, this beautiful, lucid hymn to the sea is a reminder of what we still have, what we stand to lose, and why we must never stop fighting to save our home.

Tim Winton

There is something about a prose writer who can deliver a view of the world that is poetic, scientifically detailed and clear to the layman all at once. Something almost biblical. James Bradley is one of those writers, as a novelist, a poet, an essayist and a writer of nonfiction. His new book Deep Water is a revelation.

Miriam Cosic, The Monthly

This whole book is a subtle but mesmerising call to action; a reminder of just how extraordinary this planet’s oceans are, and a plea to every individual to keep fighting to save what’s left of them.

Bianca Nogrady, The Sydney Morning Herald

What a wondrous book. In vivid, urgent prose, James Bradley takes us on a journey through oceanic worlds. Epic in scope and charged with a compulsive capitalist critique, Deep Water balances the grief of environmental catastrophe with a profound sense of awe and possibility. There is no false hope here. But there is hope.

Billy Griffiths, author of Deep Time Dreaming

Bradley Vividly conveys the awe-inspiring scale of the deep seas, both in space and time.

Philip Ball, author of How Life Works: A User’s Guide to the New Biology, Book of the Day, the Guardian

Deep Water is a major achievement; a vast fathoming of the pasts, presents and futures of the world's oceans and seas. Bradley's skills both as novelist and essayist converge here to create this wise, compassionate and urgent book, characterised throughout by a clarity of prose and a bracing moral gaze that searches water, self and reader.

Robert Macfarlane

Bradley weaves natural history, climate studies, and trivia into an elegant whole that drives home the dire threat global warming poses to the ocean, all delivered in plaintive prose (“The toxic legacies of human industry written into the bodies of ocean creatures are a reminder that the deep is not a place of forgetting, but an ark of memory”). It’s a galvanizing call to action.

Publishers Weekly

Astonishing in both its depth and breadth, Deep Water is an incisive, thoughtful exploration of the complicated and crucial relationships we have with our oceans. James Bradley has written a tour de force at a moment when we need it most.

Juli Berwald, author of Life on the Rocks and Spineless

In vivid detail, James Bradley unravels the science of life below the surface as he interrogates our relationship with the ocean. It is not only home to marine life, but to meaning; to a different way of understanding time, the world and our place within it. Deep Water is an ambitious, far reaching work. Against the spectre of climate breakdown there is a sense of urgency in Deep Water, but beauty and pause too

Celina Ribeiro, Guardian

This gloriously ambitious book about the wonder and plight of our oceans brings together James Bradley's skills as a poet, novelist and journalist. His history of the world from an oceanic perspective is elegant and urgent. It is also deeply human.

Delia Falconer

A sublime work, quite literally: vast, beautiful, sometimes frightening. Bradley is a talented scholar, surveying widely in various disciplines. But he keeps his novelist’s eyes for poignant intimacy: moments of love and grief, curiosity and rage. If you care about our oceans, submerge yourself in Deep Water.

Damon Young, author of The Art of Reading

Bradley has poured his whole soul into this book, a work of creative nonfiction immense in scope and implication. Tim Winton calls it a “beautiful, lucid hymn” to our oceanic world – praise that I cannot top, though I concur.

Geordie Williamson, The Australian

A sublime exploration of one of Earth’s most immense, powerful, and obscure entities, awash with humanity and wisdom. Deep Water will transform how you think about the ocean.

Richard Fisher, author of The Long View

No part of the Earth system is more vital to the human past and future than the world ocean, and few indeed are better qualified to tell its stories than James Bradley. A love letter and a warning, Deep Water is a work of rare scholarship, wide range and fierce urgency.

Caspar Henderson

Brilliant, thought-provoking and painstakingly researched, James Bradley’s “Deep Water” invites readers to reconsider our place in the grand tapestry of existence. Acknowledging that we are not necessarily the dominant species, the book reveals the interconnectedness and kinship we share with all life forms. It challenges the anthropocentric focus that clouds our perspective and urges us to embrace alternative ways of being and heightened consciousness. It is a call to reflect on the profound implications of our actions, offering a journey that navigates the depths of our connection to water and the vast, interconnected world we call home.

Jill Heinerth, Author, INTO THE PLANET - My Life as a Cave Diver

What does it mean to live on an ocean planet? It’s an important question, one that has shaped human history and will define our future. James Bradley provides fresh and sometimes surprising perspectives as he guides his readers toward ‘seeing the world through the lens of the ocean.’ Covering a highly varied range of topics including the relationships between ecosystem degradation and slavery, the cultural history of swimming, the hidden impacts of overfishing and deep-sea mining and the staggering reach and effect of maritime trade, Bradley offers a unique view of our world and our place in it. A must read for conservationists and ocean enthusiasts.

Edith Widder, Ph.D., Below the Edge of Darkness: A Memoir of Exploring Light and Life in the Deep Sea

As someone who loves and lives on the Ocean, I am inspired by James Bradley's new book. Deep Water dives deep into the ocean's heart—James has a magical mix of personal tales, science, and a powerful message to care for our seas. It’s a blend of wonder at the ocean’s splendor and a push to protect it. This book is an incredible journey that showcases the sea's greatness and why we need to collectively act and preserve it.

Laird Hamilton

Bradley's prose is a delight to read. The book's enduring message is about the effect of climate change and how we must reverse it. If readers need convincing, this book may do it.

Becca Whitehead, Bookseller + Publisher

Beautiful to read, illuminates the subject matter.

Michaela Kalowski, ABC TV News Breakfast

This is a book that offers much, and should find a space in every library, on every home bookshelf... eloquent and beautiful, Deep Water acts as a beacon of warning while shining a bright light of hope on our underwater world.

Liz Robinson, Love Reading

Bradley's approach is multi-faceted, tracing many lines of inquiry as intriguing as they are varied, and deftly intrweaving reportage and history. Dazzling and sometimes confounding statistics proliferate, but are leavened by more personal reflections. The ocean, as Bradley sees it, is not monolithic, but teems with dualities, contradictions and historical contingencies. He considers its trade routes - once the veins of British imperialism, now the site of the transoceanic cables that carry the internet to almost every corner of the Earth - as well as what it means for bodies, both human and non-human to inhabit its depths.

Ben Brooker, The Saturday Paper

This provocative and engrossing history of marine life identifies its role in shaping us – and the future crisis we face

Robin McKie, The Observer

This bracing, vibrant work invites readers' compassion, humility and reflection as we choose our actions in this 'heaving, injured world'.

Felicity Plunkett, Australian Book Review

Like the ancient mariner, writer James Bradley fixes us with a tale so gripping you cannot turn away - it's also a powerful plea for us to stop treating the ocean as the earth's dump.

Robyn Douglass, The Adelaide Advertiser

Discover more

James Bradley reveals the invisible structure underpinning his new book, Deep Water

We caught up with James Bradley to learn about his research process, approach to non-fiction and the unique structure that guides readers through a journey into our oceans.