Sea Bean

Sea Bean

Summary

A WATERSTONES NATURE AND TRAVEL BEST BOOK OF 2023

LONGLISTED FOR THE WAINWRIGHT NATURE WRITING PRIZE 2023


'Modern, revealing and restorative, a coastal treasure' Amy Liptrot
'Like its talismanic title, Huband's voice is distinct and singular. A gorgeous reckoning with the sea, islands and mythology' Sinéad Gleeson
'A wild melding of body and landscape. A deep, immersive, storm-tossed read' Helen Jukes
'As vital and complex as the oceans themseleves' Joanna Pocock

A powerful journey of sea and self, trial and hope on the islands of Shetland

When a seed falls from a vine in the tropics and is carried by ocean currents across the Atlantic to the shores of Western Europe - it is known as a sea bean. It is still considered lucky to find a sea bean on the shore, they have been used as magical charms for more than a thousand years.

Sally's search for a sea bean begins not long after she moves to the windswept archipelago of Shetland. When pregnancy triggers a chronic illness and forces her to slow down, Sally takes to the beaches. There she discovers treasure freighted with story and curiosities that connect her to the world.

The wild shores of Shetland offer glimpses of orcas swimming through the ocean at dusk, the chance to release a tiny storm petrel into the dark of the night and a path of hope. This beachcombing path takes her from the Faroese archipelago to the Orkney islands, and the Dutch island of Texel. It opens a world of ancient myths, fragile ecology, and deep human history. It brings her to herself again.

Sea Bean is a message in a bottle. An interconnection of our oceans, communities and ourselves, and an invitation to feel belonging when we are adrift.

Reviews

  • I found the book a deeply moving, immersive journey through land, sea and the human heart
    Raynor Winn, author of The Salt Path

About the author

Sally Huband

Sally Huband was born in Bristol in 1974. A writer and naturalist, she received a Masters in Conservation from University College London and a PhD from the University of Edinburgh. For her doctorate she combined ecology and ethnography to research the butterflies of hay meadow habitats in the Romanian Carpathians. She is a recipient of a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award, and her work has been published in Antlers of Water and Archipelago - A Reader. Sally lives in the Shetland Islands with her daughter, son and husband. Sea Bean is her first book.
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