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The Outer Beach: A Thousand-Mile Walk on Cape Cod's Atlantic Shore
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Published:
W. W. Norton & Company 2017
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Description

"Finch is today's best, most perceptive Cape Cod writer in a line extending all the way back to Henry David Thoreau." —Christian Science Monitor


Weaving together Robert Finch's collected writings from over fifty years and a thousand miles of walking along Cape Cod's Atlantic coast, The Outer Beach is a poignant, candid chronicle of an iconic American landscape anyone with an appreciation for nature will cherish.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
05/09/2017
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781324000525
ASIN:
B01M4JBI9U
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Robert Finch. (2017). The Outer Beach: A Thousand-Mile Walk on Cape Cod's Atlantic Shore. W. W. Norton & Company.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Robert Finch. 2017. The Outer Beach: A Thousand-Mile Walk On Cape Cod's Atlantic Shore. W. W. Norton & Company.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Robert Finch, The Outer Beach: A Thousand-Mile Walk On Cape Cod's Atlantic Shore. W. W. Norton & Company, 2017.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Robert Finch. The Outer Beach: A Thousand-Mile Walk On Cape Cod's Atlantic Shore. W. W. Norton & Company, 2017.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 17:12:55
Date Updated:
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      • role: Author
      • fileAs: Finch, Robert
      • bioText: Robert Finch has lived on Cape Cod for forty years, currently in Wellfleet, Massachusetts. He is the author of seven collections of essays, most recently of his radio scripts for his weekly commentary, "A Cape Cod Notebook," on the Cape and Islands NPR Station, WCAI.
      • name: Robert Finch
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title
The Outer Beach
fullDescription

"Finch is today's best, most perceptive Cape Cod writer in a line extending all the way back to Henry David Thoreau." —Christian Science Monitor

Weaving together Robert Finch's collected writings from over fifty years and a thousand miles of walking along Cape Cod's Atlantic coast, The Outer Beach is a poignant, candid chronicle of an iconic American landscape anyone with an appreciation for nature will cherish.

reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Sam Sacks;Wall Street Journal
      • content: Lovely and fortifying.... Geologists estimate that Cape Cod will disappear in around 6,000 years.... Until it goes, may there continue to be writers as good as Mr. Finch to commemorate it.
      • premium: False
      • source: New York Times Book Review
      • content: [Finch] is a keen and passionate observer.... [He] artfully conveys what is, at heart, so stirring about the beach: how its beauty and magisterial power cause us to ponder the larger things in life.
      • premium: False
      • source: Annie Dillard
      • content: A lovable book, full of high-leaping energy and charm. And Finch is great company—wonderfully informed, observant, and funny. He gives us his leisured and warm friendship; he gives us his humor and enthusiasm. What astounding sights he meets just by wandering!
      • premium: False
      • source: Bill Roorbach, author of Temple Stream, Life Among Giants, and The Girl of the Lake
      • content: Every step of this fifty-year journey is a lesson, a poem, a hypothesis, a paean, a keen stroke in a vivid seascape, a treatise, a fresh verse in an ongoing elegy. The Outer Beach is one of the most moving books about Cape Cod ever written, and Robert Finch is a genial, prickly, funny, exact, and generous companion. Talk about a beach book!
      • premium: False
      • source: Scott Russell Sanders, author of Dancing in Dreamtime
      • content: With a scientist's clarity and a storyteller's wit, [Finch] tells of excursions taken over nearly half a century.... His prose carries the tang of salt, the gossip of gulls, the hiss of wind and surf. Open this book and you can venture out with him in all weathers, all seasons—beachcombing, storm-chasing, birdwatching—all the while musing on the primordial dance between land and sea, and on the resilient creatures that live along the edge.
      • premium: False
      • source: Cape Cod Times
      • content: A lyrical ode to one of the most unique places on earth.
      • premium: False
      • source: Library Journal
      • content: A master stylist, Finch is both a naturalist and a philosopher.... This beautiful book is to be savored in small bites by anyone yet to visit the Cape, and swallowed whole by those who love it as much as Finch does.
      • premium: False
      • source: Kirkus Reviews
      • content: The author chose John Keats' remark, 'Description is always bad,' as an epigraph for the book, but that comment surely does not apply to the precision and sheer loveliness of Finch's prose.... Vivid and graceful reflections on water and wind, shifting sands, and the inevitability of change.
      • premium: False
      • source: Publishers Weekly
      • content: In rich and subtle detail, his portraits of the beach capture its ever-shifting elements.... Finch draws lessons on the impermanence of life from this settlement built on sand, lessons that resonate with his evocative panorama of restive natural forces in an iconic setting.
      • premium: False
      • source: John Hanson Mitchell, author of Ceremonial Time and editor of the former Sanctuary magazine
      • content: The Hopi people have a term—tuwanasaapi—that translates as 'place where you belong.' Like many of the best chroniclers of the sea and shores, Robert Finch came to Cape Cod from inland reaches, and when he first arrived he found the place where he belonged. These incisive essays, collected over a period of fifty years, document in the sterling prose that is the landmark of Finch's writing the logic of his choice. In an age of globalization, the loss of place, and contact with the natural world due in part to the expanding dependence on the cyber world, we need books like this.
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        February 27, 2017
        One of the world’s most fragile and evanescent landscapes furnishes enduring life lessons in this collection of atmospheric ecological meditations. Naturalist Finch (The Iambics of Newfoundland: Notes from an Unknown Shore) reckons that during his 40-odd years living on Cape Cod he took some 1,000 miles worth of strolls up and down its sweep of ocean-facing beach, and recounts many of those strolls in these essays. In rich and subtle detail, his portraits of the beach capture its ever-shifting elements: the myriad tempos of wind and surf, sudden incursions of fog, intricate tidal currents, swarms of shore birds, detritus thrown up briefly and then swallowed up again by the waves, even the tiny flows of sand trickling down the seaside bluffs. It must be said that after very many such sketches of surf, fog, birds, flotsam, and sand, this palette of effects starts to exhaust its expressive potential, and the reader is relieved by the appearance of more dramatic and singular figures and events, including shipwrecks, beached whales, the destruction of cottages and other buildings by storm-tossed seas. As the ocean ceaselessy gnaws away the Outer Beach, Finch draws lessons on the impermanence of life from this settlement built on sand, lessons that resonate with his evocative panorama of restive natural forces in an iconic setting.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        Starred review from March 15, 2017
        Lyrical reflections, natural history, and nuggets of wisdom inspired by walks at the shore.In 40 years of walking along Cape Cod's Outer Beach, Finch (Cape Cod Notebook 2, 2016, etc.) estimates that he has covered 1,000 miles, rambles that have informed nine previous books. In his latest collection, he chronicles his beach walking from south to north along the Cape's 40-mile stretch of glacial bluffs, barrier beach, and islands. The author chose John Keats' remark, -Description is always bad,- as an epigraph for the book, but that comment surely does not apply to the precision and sheer loveliness of Finch's prose. One night, walking through fog, he could barely see the surf but suddenly smelled the ocean, -rich, salt spiced, redolent of fecundity and decay.- Under moonlight, the waves -came in silhouette, low black forms, like great fish swirling in on the moon-crusted surface of the sea.- Like the surfers he enjoys watching, Finch has learned to read waves, -each with its own distinct shape, height, alignment, speed, curl.- Each wave -speaks its own watery sentence, which the surfer has to parse.- The author reflects often on change and time. -The more mobile we become,- he suggests, -the more immobile we demand nature to be.- But the shore is in constant, repetitive flux: -The Cape's outer shores are a solid metaphor for the river of time, into which we can step only once.- Finch once brought a distraught friend to the shore, hoping to help him discover -the need to adapt continually to change, always to be watching for undertows and rogue waves, to dance nimbly along its edges.- His friend returned to the solidity of hills; Finch found -solace and reassurance from the beach.- Even without the possible rise in sea level because of climate change, scientists estimate that the Cape will be eroded in 6,000 years. Nature, Finch knows, is more powerful than human intervention, and it is this power than enthralls him. Vivid and graceful reflections on water and wind, shifting sands, and the inevitability of change.

        COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        March 15, 2017

        Nature writer and NPR correspondent Finch is quick to deny the validity of his book's subtitle; readers will note, too, that this isn't a guide for Cape Cod walkers. Instead, it's a love letter to life on the Cape spanning his 40 years walking "the back side of Cape Cod" via a series of episodes--some only a long paragraph, others filling pages. Finch arranges his time on the Cape by location, beginning in the South of the Outer Beaches, and, following in chronological order, from the early 1960s to the present. The lack of illustrations or photographs may disappoint readers unfamiliar with the area, while a map at the beginning means a fair amount of page flipping. A master stylist, Finch is both a naturalist and philosopher. A 1977 essay titled "The Cape as a River of Time" illustrates the charm of his prose: "Thoreau's beach--or most of it, or the site where it was--is more than a hundred yards out to sea. The Cape's outer shores are a solid metaphor for the river of time, into which we can step only once." VERDICT This beautiful book is to be savored in small bites by anyone yet to visit the Cape, and swallowed whole by those who love it as much as Finch does.--Janet N. Ross, formerly with Washoe Cty. Lib. Sys., Sparks, NV

        Copyright 2017 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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"Finch is today's best, most perceptive Cape Cod writer in a line extending all the way back to Henry David Thoreau." —Christian Science Monitor

Weaving together Robert Finch's collected writings from over fifty years and a thousand miles of walking along Cape Cod's Atlantic coast, The Outer Beach is a poignant, candid chronicle of an iconic American landscape anyone with an appreciation for nature will cherish.

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