The Face of the Deep

Thomas Farber

literature & essay
$14.95, 192 pages
ISBN 978-1562791124


In this lyrical and revealing exploration of the Pacific in all its aspects, we float on and submerge below the ocean's liquid mirror, surfing and diving in "a continuum, concatenation, of sunrises, sunsets ... one's consciousness itself rising and falling with the swell." From villages in Samoa to haunts in Hawai'i, Thomas Farber tells of encounters in bars and backwaters as he explores Oceania's mythologies and literatures. From treasure hunters of Cocos Island to writers of the Literary Pacific, from Stevenson and Melville to the indigenous writings of Wendt and Hau'ofa, Farber navigates the complexities of the Pacific and its peoples. With the play and music of his language, Farber's shimmering reflections give us a fresh appreciation of the Pacific's depths.

“... a marvelous, poetic achievement, the best book on diving that I have ever read, a remarkable meditation on the polysemous richness of the sea, and a fascinating log of a risky voyage of self-discovery.”
—Steven Greenblatt, Harvard University


Awarded Guggenheim and, three times, National Endowment fellowships for fiction and creative nonfiction, Thomas Farber has been a Fulbright Scholar, recipient of the Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor Prize, and Rockefeller Foundation scholar at Bellagio. His recent books include Brief Nudity, The Beholder, and Hesitation Marks. He teaches at the University of California, Berkeley, and is Publisher/Editor in Chief of El León Literary Arts.


This publication was made possible thanks to a generous grant by the Overbrook Foundation.