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Eiren Caffall has produced some of the most powerful writing on the ecological crisis that I have read anywhere. By looking at climate change through the lens of her own illness, and through the eyes of her unique son, problems that we so often push away because of the enormity of their size, and their apparent distance from daily life, suddenly become intimate and human-scale. We can suddenly allow repressed and suppressed truths to enter us, and we are forever changed. Caffall is a gifted writer, and this book is strong medicine.

—Naomi Klein

We are, all of us, wounded in some way, and this planet of ours is wounded too. This remarkable memoir somehow understands those basic facts in new ways; it will open your mind to new ways of thinking about healing, wholeness, reconciliation, courage.

—Bill McKibben, author The End of Nature

By shining a beam into the sea, Caffall confronts the abyss of her own wayward biological inheritance and the intimate ties that bind endangered lineages, both marine and terrestrial. A brave, kaleidoscopic and deeply felt exploration of collapse and the possibility of personal and ecological renewal.

—Sonia Shah author of Pandemic and The Next Great Migration

Beguiling, idiosyncratic: Eiren Caffall makes an original contribution to the growing genre of memoirs that explore illness and healing. The Mourner’s Bestiary draws a poetic parallel between the body’s experience of chronic disease and the marine ecosystems Caffall knows well—an unexpected juxtaposition that gives new dimension to climate hazards we face and opportunities to address them. Caffall writes with plangent intensity about our responsibility toward the planet, and her eye for the wonder and beauty of ocean life pierces the illusion of disconnected existence. Water becomes an element that draws us together.

—Whiting Foundation judges’ citation