Robert Macfarlane has outdone himself with Underland, an exploration of our complex relationship with the world beneath our feet. With characteristic insight and crystalline prose, Macfarlane shines a light into the murky depths, and in so doing illuminating the deep past, the crumbling present, and the far distant future. A masterpiece.— Stephen
June 2019 Indie Next List
“I don’t think there is a square mile of ground on this planet where Robert Macfarlane couldn’t dig up a new, wondrous story. Underland continues the tradition of profound storytelling, reflection, and, quite simply, gorgeous writing we have come to expect from him. Macfarlane’s ventures into the underworlds of our planet, both mythical and literal, may amount to his finest work yet, and not just because these are the places that have captivated me most throughout my life. I feel fortunate to be living at the same time as him, knowing that as long as he is writing, there is something to look forward to.”
— Chris La Tray, Fact & Fiction Downtown, Missoula, MT
Summer 2020 Reading Group Indie Next List
“A study of the cultural, geological, and psychological call of the world beneath. From ancient cave paintings to the language of trees, from the catacombs of Paris to the burial mounds of nuclear power plants, McFarlane leads us on a bounding but intimate journey through our past and into our future.”
— Ben Kemper, Rediscovered Books, Boise, ID
National Bestseller • New York Times "100 Notable Books of the Year" • NPR "Favorite Books of 2019" • Guardian "100 Best Books of the 21st Century" • Winner of the National Outdoor Book Award
"Mesmerizing…Underland is a portal of light in dark times." —Terry Tempest Williams, New York Times Book Review
In Underland, Robert Macfarlane delivers an epic exploration of the Earth’s underworlds as they exist in myth, literature, memory, and the land itself. Traveling through the dizzying expanse of geologic time—from prehistoric art in Norwegian sea caves, to the blue depths of the Greenland ice cap, to a deep-sunk "hiding place" where nuclear waste will be stored for 100,000 years to come—Underland takes us on an extraordinary journey into our relationship with darkness, burial, and what lies beneath the surface of both place and mind.
Global in its geography and written with great lyricism, Underland speaks powerfully to our present moment. At once ancient and urgent, this is a book that will change the way you see the world.
About the Author
Robert Macfarlane’s prize-winning and best-selling books include Mountains of the Mind, The Old Ways, Landmarks, and, with Jackie Morris, The Lost Words. He lives in Cambridge, England, where he is a Fellow of the University of Cambridge.
Profound in every sense of the word.
— Richard Powers, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Overstory
An excellent book—fearless and subtle, empathic and strange.
— Dwight Garner - New York Times
Reading Macfarlane connects us to dazzling new worlds. It’s a connection that brings, more than anything else, joy.
— Barbara J. King - NPR
Remarkable…Underland may be [Macfarlane’s] masterpiece.
— Colin Thubron - New York Review of Books
One of the most ambitious works of narrative non-fiction of our age.
— William Dalrymple - Guardian
[Robert Macfarlane’s] writing is luminous, intense.…[B]rilliant notes from the underground.
— Huw Lewis-Jones - Nature
[Macfarlane] seems to metabolize landscape into lyrics as he walks.
— Rachel Riederer - Outside
Through this series of haunting descents, Macfarlane plumbs the strange and alarming ways we’ve changed the world and resurfaces with revelations about how to orient us to the future, weaving landscape and language together.
— Kate Yoder - Grist
The most impressive exercise of imagination and scholarship I’ve come across lately.…A reader never will forget this journey through geologic time.
— Tony Norman - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
With Underland Macfarlane gives us a work of nature writing for the age—and for the ages. Its eloquent but urgent prose reveals our complex relationship with nature while pushing us to think more deeply about earth’s sublime underneath.
— Amy Brady - Gizmodo