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The book's greatest reward isn’t the fascinating science — although that is riveting and ablaze with rigor — but Montgomery’s mesmerising prose, pouring from the soul of a literary naturalist who paints the marvels of the ocean’s depths, like Attenborough narrates Life on Earth with a unique voice of enthusiasm, knowledge and pleasure.

North Pacific Giant Octopus by photographer Mark Laita

     The Soul Of An Octopus is an astonishingly beautiful read. After our introduction to the author, and her local aquarium, the book takes a deep dive questioning scientific, universal and religious truths and the chapters flow forward at once scientifically illuminating, whilst also remaining deeply poetic.

“While stroking an octopus, it is easy to fall into reverie. To share such a moment of deep tranquility with another being, especially one as different from us as the octopus, is a humbling privilege. It’s a shared sweetness, a gentle miracle, an uplink to universal consciousness”. 

  She writes:”The ocean, for me, is what LSD was to Timothy Leary. He claimed the hallucinogen is to reality what a microscope is to biology, affording a perception of reality that was not before accessible. Shamans and seekers eat mushrooms, drink potions, lick toads, inhale smoke, and snort snuff to transport their minds to realms they cannot normally experience….In my scuba-induced altered state, I’m not in the grip of a drug: I am lucid in my immersion, voluntarily becoming part of what feels like the ocean’s own dream”.

the soul of an octopus


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