Edward Posnett journeys to some of the most far-flung locales on the planet to bring us seven wonders of the natural world--eiderdown, vicuña fiber, sea silk, vegetable ivory, civet coffee, guano, and edible birds' nests—that promise ways of using nature without damaging it.
...usurps the reader's expectations ... Were it nothing else, Strange Harvests would be an impressive addition to the modern travelogue, painting some of the world's most remote terrain in visceral and sometimes breathtaking prose ... But unlike so many slick travel narratives accepting the landscape at face value, strengthening the state-sponsored veneer, Strange Harvests probes much deeper ... an...engrossing read, one made even more so by the author's honesty, his willingness to admit the disappointments ... If Strange Harvests never quite offers an answer, never quite finds that perfect symbiosis, it's nevertheless a thought-provoking tour.
The themes of economic inequality and cultural disruption, combined with issues of animal husbandry and ecology, make Strange Harvests a deeper, more thoughtful narrative than readers may expect. Posnett’s essays far and meaningfully exceed the promise of his title and show this debut author to be more than worthy of comparisons to other questing and curious nonfiction writers, such as Edward Humes, David Kirby, and Heather Rogers.
...[an] evocative look at precious natural objects ... for the most part, [Posnett] is careful not to overextend his reach and concentrates on delivering scrupulous descriptions of his subjects and their locales ... In the best passages, he capture the harvesters at work, from an Icelandic priest gently lifting eiderdown from abandoned nests, to a Borneo bird nest harvester trodding in flip-flops through ankle-deep guano. Posnett aims to record 'for posterity' the wondrous details of these objects—and he succeeds marvelously.