Water and Light

Water and Light Cover

A celebration of diving takes readers to the reef off Grand Turk Island in the Caribbean, offering insights into its myriad sea creatures and describing the humans on land.



"Mr. Harrigan's voice is light, steady and honest. . . The reader emerges from the book feeling more graceful and fluid--diver-like--and enriched by both passion and knowledge. Mr. Harrigan cares for the reader as much as he does the coral reefs. Water and Light takes the reader on a quiet, lonely, fulfilling journey."—Rick Bass, The Dallas Morning News

"Harrigan. . . captures the peacefulness of being rocked by salty currents, the massive beauty of the reefs, the exhilaration of the sport, and the mental scramble to retain fast-fading memories of sights almost unimaginable on land. Fellow divers will relish his camaraderie, while those who prefer staying topside will feel as though they've taken the plunge themselves."—Booklist

"Moving, intelligent and, in the best sense, literary. . . Stephen Harrigan is anchored in reality; he knows that the environment he's describing is in serious jeopardy. At the same time, he has made this book sparkle with his remarkable ability to discuss the metaphysical and spiritual aspects of underwater exploration without ever sounding saccharine or murky."—Francine Prose, The New York Times Book Review

"What makes reading Water and Light so intensely pleasurable is Stephen Harrigan's craftsmanship as a writer. His prose is as confident and beautiful as a tropical sky, and as clear as a sheltered lagoon. The allure to dive into it is irresistible."—The Raleigh News and Observer

"There is something wonderful about this strange and fascinating book, about Harrigan's hopeless quest, his unrequited but potent passion. . . and, of course, the magical world he brings so vividly to life."—The San Francisco Chronicle

"[Harrigan] tells us about the people who live on Grand Turk, or come there on business, and he is given to reflecting on the subtleties of the underwater experience, but his real virtue as a writer is his ability to convey, in precise, lucid prose, the marvels of the sea bottom."—The New Yorker

"Water and Light: A Diver's Journey to a Coral Reef is a very special book. . . For those of us who inquire into what it is that draws our very hearts under the sea, Harrigan is mighty stimulation."—Undercurrents

"Harrigan is an exceptional writer who has given the sea and his search for self a special meaning in Water and Light. Think of him as the most literate dive buddy you ever had."—Rodale's Scuba Diving

"Harrigan's subject and style are perfectly married, and his personal compulsion to know the underwater world lifts him and his readers to new levels of awareness."—The Austin American Statesman

"Harrigan combines insight and breadth of knowledge with an elegant style, painlessly delivering lessons in marine biology while conveying the otherworldly thrill of an alien environment. . . As a record of one human's response to the most life-filled and possibly most threatened environment on earth, Water and Light stands alone, a poignant testimonial on behalf of the spirit of nature."—Houston Press