I expected a lot from this book as it seems to be regarded as a 'nature writing' classic. I found the writing varied, sometimes the author absorbed me with her observations and stories and at other times the book seemed erratic and the writing jarred with me. On one or two occasions I found the writing beautiful. However I decided that overall it was too irritating to continue with so I gave up about halfway through.
This book took me a while to get through; it was like digesting something very rich. I persevered and was not disappointed overall. I enjoyed the account of the Nepal journey, the character portrayals of the porters and the field biologist George Scaller. I found some of the philosophical discussions rather tedious but I did like the author's personal thoughts and feelings about the expedition and his life which kept me reading it all the way through.
I had certain expectations of this book having read poetry and an essay by Melanie challenger that I thought was excellent. However I took a while to read "Extinction" because I kept losing interest and therefore the thread of what the author is trying to convey. There's much about the history of the whaling industry but I couldn't tell really how this related to the idea of extinction. There are some interesting historical and other stories but the most interesting and engaging ones are the author's personal experiences and observations as she travels to various parts of the world including Cornwall, Whitby and Antarctica.It is a book about our - or the author's - loss or lack of connection with nature; natural observations do not play a strong part in the book itself. Some passages are written with beautiful language. It's a book that I feel I should have got more from.