Craig Foster is a diver who, with Ross Frylinck, dives regularly off the coast of South Africa without wetsuits or oxygen tanks. His experiences with the beautiful underwater forests and creatures that dwell there led to the remarkable and much-talk-about film My Octopus Teacher.
Building on the success and interest in My Octopus Teacher, Foster and Frylinck have put together a beautiful coffee-table style book packed with photos from their underwater explorations and a relatively simple, direct narrative from Foster explaining his journey. Some of that narrative includes Foster’s reflection on some of the more traumatic moments in his life, such as his divorce and leaving his wife and son. But diving has been his refuge during times of despair and we get the notion that this underwater wild has been a life-saver for him and he passes that on to his son who completes a right of passage in Foster’s own chosen world.
While Foster’s narrative definitely rounds out the book, the real appeal here is the beautiful photography. Sea life is still a great mystery to most people, and the photography here truly opens a window into this world. The commentaries on the photos, letting us know what we’re looking at (as sometimes an animal’s camouflage works so well [as nature intended] that we could miss some of the animals or what they’re doing) are vastly more interesting to this reader than Foster’s story.
I will admit that given the cover photo and the tag line at the top of the book “From the creators of My Octopus Teacher” I was expecting a lot more octopus photos in the book. But of course, this is Underwater Wild, not strictly a companion piece to the documentary.
I think that Foster and Frylinck are stepping up and bringing back an awareness to the undersea world. Not since Jacques Cousteau have we had anyone really promoting ocean life the way Foster is, and we need that right now.
The book has a great introduction from Jane Goodall.
Looking for a good book? Underwater Wild by Craig Foster and Ross Frylinck is a beautiful coffee-table style book and you’ll want to share these photos and the things you learn with all your guests and friends.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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Underwater Wild: My Octopus Teacher’s Extraordinary World
authors: Craig Foster and Ross Frylinck
publisher: Mariner Books
hardcover, 344 pages