I often go to Mandy’s site to find good books to read and the latest on her recommendation that I finished is Submergence by J.M. Ledgard. If you read either of the posts that Mandy wrote about the book, you can get a flavor of what it’s about, but I would add that the writing is absolutely amazing. Ledgard writes amazing descriptions and it is dense, I often reread paragraphs simple because the words were so amazing. Another learning experience about writing while reading something that took me into two very different worlds than my own.

I highlighted passages I found both beautifully written, but also things that made me think. If you have an interest in reading the book, you may not want to read below as there could be spoilers.

(Note: I read the digital kindle version, generously loaned by my local library, so the highlights are tied to the kindle location.)

The essence of it is that there is another world in our world, but we have to live in this one until the latter fire heats the deep.(loc 81)

He became his own multimedia player, although there was nothing automated about it; it was biological, twitchings in red mud, with stanzas missing; moving pictures were fragile, they flickered, and then were gone. (loc 125)

It was the week before Christmas, the time of hard Gothic frosts and the first snow that stayed. The leaves were all blown off the trees, the streams and rills covered in thin ice, and the ditch water beside the tracks frozen thick with air pockets on the underside, as though beaten out by the paws and mittens of panicked animals within. (loc 151)

There was something obscure about Danny, they said, something hard, something striated. There was some truth in this assessment, not least the fact that, arresting as she was, she enjoyed sex on her own terms, and was inclined to regard her sexual partners as to some degree disposable, like squash partners. (loc 160)

She was broadly scientific, in the Enlightenment sense of requiring the humanities to touch upon her thinking. Her detractors must never have seen her at work, for what she lacked in rootedness she made up for in vocation. (loc 170)

The United States talked about individuality, but delivered the unvaried and replicated. (loc 311)

It surprised him how quickly he had been won over to electronic ink. Words were shapes. You entered them, they entered you. (loc 331)

She cooked for herself in her large kitchen and enjoyed concertos or comedy quizzes on the radio while she ate. She worked until late. She sipped a glass of Australian wine while she worked, always Australian, to please her father. She smoked cigarettes, which she held away from her in the French way, as if they were leaden. The ceilings in her flat were high, the doors were original, heavy, and exact. This was her life, there was solidity to it, although with a window open to the garden and all of South Ken going softly, softly into the night, it was possible to imagine Peter Pan alighting there. (loc 467)

Winter was the time to be with men. Summer days were floaty, but men were engorged, blown up with themselves and oiled. A man was more engaging in the winter, more manly and available, even if he was reduced and melancholy. (loc 574)

They played billiards. The cues were stacked against a stone sink, where in days past billiard players would have washed their hands and faces. The emptiness of the room and the echo of their footsteps on the wooden floorboards gave the game a slightly eerie feel. Neither of them knew the rules. They made them up. She bent over the table. (loc 1507)

He moved in behind, wrapped her up, and it began again. She was a flower about to open. He touched her arms and hands. They pulled back the cue, together they struck the white ball, it clicked the red, and for her his kiss was more than the balls striking; he touched her life, she touched his, their lives so independent and far apart from each other. (loc 1512)

The longest golf drive recorded was hit on the moon. Man has yet to return to the Challenger Deep. The lesson from this is that it is easier for human beings to push outward than it is for them to explore inward. The wind that carries you away like a kite will blow you on your back if you turn to face it. Consider how the surface area of a balloon grows when air is blown into it. When we push out, we create new frontiers we might populate. When we take the air out of a balloon, it deflates, and becomes shriveled. (loc 1586)

To push inward is hard, to descend even more so; it challenges our sense of who we are and where we came from. This is why, even though we are inundated with seawater, the advances of our oceanographic agencies do not match those of our space agencies. (loc 1624)

There was a mirror in the room and he stood looking at himself; or rather, because he was not vain in that way, he regarded his other self caught inside the mirror. (loc 1723)

When the rain eased and they were back under the lorry and they could hear the lion feeding he had a strange feeling, which was something like the speed of his passing through the world, hardly stopping, and his understanding that lions had for so many generations taken hoofed animals in the cover of rain in the desert, and that the sound of them in the dark would outlast him and all of his kind, just as even the mud under the lorry would outlast him. (loc 1775)

Heaven was like being tuned out. You entered in and were suffused in an equal light, without sun or storms, never atmospheric, and were met also by one equal sound. (loc 1996)

She was a snob. She detested what was vulgar; vulgarity was something else. Thumbs had it best when he said she was two cats in one: a Persian and an alley cat. For inasmuch as she dressed carefully and stylishly on the boat, and expended her mind in the lab, she had drunk, punched, and screwed her way through science cruises over the years with a dirtiness beyond the suspicions of her detractors. (loc 2102)

He looked at her once more. Took her in. She was different. The space between places had collapsed, people were propelled through the sky in pressurized cabins, but she was opening up another world in the world. (loc 2220)

There is another world in our world, but we have to live in this one. Jellies we are, washed up on the shore. (loc 2245)

It made her think of the changes that had occurred in the Greenland Sea in its lifetime. When it was birthed there were hardly any ships. There were no submarines. There were no engines, klaxons; no man-made noises. There were many seals and fish then, whereas now there was such a competition the killer whale was forced to trail geese in the hope that one might fall from sky. (loc 2498)

It was not submission—she would work—it was a Buddhist sense of resignation and a feeling of responsibility to her own living form. To Danny Flinders. The very precariousness of her condition and more generally the condition of mankind made her body and choices more precious to herself. It was incumbent upon her to live fully; to give and to receive. (loc 2540)

She might have fallen for someone in a moment like that; in the Arctic, so capacious, so soothing. But she felt herself to be half of a whole and was no longer interested. (loc 2749)

If he had to die at the hands of fanatics, he wished to remain familiar and coherent to those whom he loved and who loved him. (loc 2777)

One characteristic of sea creatures is their constant movement. Not grief, not anything can stop them. A tuna tagged off Martinique recently was caught fifty days later in Breisundet in Norway, near the fishing town of Ålesund. (loc 2879)

The Cuvier’s beaked whale dives, touches the ligament of the sea’s throat, and rises again. It breaks for breath in the light, then returns to the deep. Whereas Christ, after his Crucifixion, continued up from hell through all the visible and invisible heavens to the highest dwelling place of God. (loc 2882)

The Latin term for the feast of ascension is ascencio, which describes how Christ was supposed to have lifted off from the earth under his own power, leaving the mark of his foot in the rock. (loc 2884)

You will be in Hades, the staying place of the spirits of the dead. You will be drowned in oblivion, the River Lethe, swallowing water to erase all memory. It will not be the nourishing womb you began your life in. It will be a submergence. You will take your place in the boiling-hot fissures, among the teeming hordes of nameless microorganisms that mimic no forms, because they are the foundation of all forms. In your reanimation you will be aware only that you are a fragment of what once was, and are no longer dead. Sometimes this will be an electric feeling, sometimes a sensation of the acid you eat, or the furnace under you. You will burgle and rape other cells in the dark for a seeming eternity, but nothing will come of it. (loc 2967)

Hades is evolved to the highest state of simplicity. It is stable. Whereas you are a tottering tower, so young in evolutionary terms, and addicted to consciousness. (loc 2981)

God, enough. He wished he was with her. That was all. It didn’t matter where. It had been his training to push away thoughts of what might be but now he was in the place of martyrs and he was slipping away and there was no more space for death, there was only space for life, for her. (loc 3010)

But death is remorseless. Death is the tide that sweeps away consciousness. It is the absolute zero that stops any acceleration. Poetry speaks of the ocean as a tomb, whereas science reckons it to be a womb. If you must waste away or perish violently in the morning light then a burial at sea might resolve this conflicted view. Lash me in a hammock and drop me deep . . . Would you wish to be sunk to a great depth, or to be dropped a fathom down, on a reef, gently rocked, until your bones are of corals made and you suffer a sea change into something rich and strange? (loc 3018)

All living creatures were at some point disassembled. It was only a question of where the parts ended up and were made into something new. (loc 3089)

Human beings were between worlds, they were inbetweeners, who did not know where light dwelt or where darkness had its place. (loc 3094)