From the author of lnsectopedia, a powerful exploration of loss, grief, endurance, and the absences that permeate the present.
Unconformities are gaps in the geological record, physical evidence of breaks in time. For Hugh Raffles, these holes in history are also fissures in feeling, knowledge, memory, and understanding. In this endlessly inventive, riveting book, Raffles enters these gaps, drawing together threads of geology, history, literature, philosophy, and ethnography to trace the intimate connections between personal loss and world historical events, and to reveal the force of absence at the core of contemporary life.
Through deeply researched explorations of Neolithic stone circles, Icelandic lava, mica from a Nazi concentration camp, petrified whale blubber in Svalbard, the marble prized by Manhattan's Lenape, and a huge Greenlandic meteorite that arrived in New York City along with six Inuit adventurers in 1897, Raffles shows how unconformities unceasingly incite human imagination and investigation yet refuse to conform, heal, or disappear.
A journey across eons and continents, The Book of Unconformities is also a journey through stone: this most solid, ancient, and enigmatic of materials, it turns out, is as lively, capricious, willful, and indifferent as time itself.