There’s a Cornish saying that nothing is left behind in an autumnal tide, the powerful tug between the sun and the equator makes the water surface stronger, and it pulls and builds until we are left with what is known as great tides – but as I stand here on my childhood beach someplace in my 40s, all I can see is the stretch of grey rocks and sand where the ebb has come and gone. Natasha Carthew grew up in rural poverty in Cornwall, battling limited opportunities, precarious resources, escalating property prices, isolation and a community marked by the ravages of inequality. Her world existed alongside the postcard picture Cornwall, where wealth and privilege converged on sandy beaches and expensive second homes.
In the rockpools and hedgerows of the natural world, Natasha found solace in the beauty of the landscape, and in the mobile library she found her means of escape. In her first non-fiction book she returns to the cliff-paths of her childhood, determined to make sense of an upbringing shaped by political neglect and a life defined by the beauty of nature. Undercurrent is part-memoir, part-investigation, part love-letter to Cornwall.
It is a vivid, powerful exploration of rural poverty, and the often devastating impact of living without the means or support to build a future. This is a journey through place, and a story of hope, beauty, and fierce resilience.