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WELCOME TO PENUMBRA PRESS – Searchlights in People’s Hands (Review)

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– Searchlights in People’s Hands (Review)

Since 1979, Penumbra Press books have been garnering praise for both their content and their elegance. We are confident that you will find much that is similarly rewarding in the handful of new titles I will introduce you to in the coming weeks as we celebrate our 45th anniversary.

As a small press publisher with a niche in northern and aboriginal subjects, we are offering a slight deviation from the norm with this season’s titles, looking both to the past and to the future for an understanding of who we were and who we are as global citizens in a troubled world.

The first 45 individuals who order books from our website will each receive a gratis copy of Volume 1, Then & Now, in the Bookmark Readerity Series, Readers & Writers on Books & Reading, which I wrote for Dan and Marlene MacDonald, proprietors of Bookmark in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Please visit our website,, or email me at for assistance in finding the right Penumbra Press book for you.

In the meantime, please enjoy this extract from Searchlights in People’s Hands, a new novel by Vivian Darroch-Lozowski. To begin, however, here is a brief description of what to expect.

— John Flood, Publisher & Producer

Are you concerned about the political and climate catastrophes that are enveloping humanity and all else that lives on the earth?

Fearlessly written, Searchlights is a remarkable story that tells about a community of humans, plants, and other species as it struggles to survive the effects of calamitous planetary changes with ways of thought and practice different from humanity’s past.

Mysterious signs begin to appear in this community’s territory. Various persons question, fear, and study the signs. The story follows how different people attempt to understand the signs. Unexpectedly, a woman receives a message about their strangeness. This message encourages the community to give form to the meaning of the signs so that the message and its meaning may be shared with others in other territories. The community becomes aware that all life on the planet participates in one universal consciousness.

Poetic and tender, Searchlights is a story that revitalizes human understanding of ourselves, of time, and of nature by providing an intuitive potential for a more merciful ecology on our Earth. There is healing in this book.

Vivian Darroch-Lozowski is Professor Emerita at the University of Toronto. She has authored several books. She continues to read, draw, and create various other traces and markings in her efforts to understand human nature.

FROM CHAPTER 11 – Annie’s letter to her mother

There are other things of nature here. Some have disappeared. Some are yet to come in the future. I am trying to find patterns. Primal patterns. Of existence. Immemorial patterns. I need. To find these things. I need to find a language to tell others about them.

Will changing our language help? I don’t know. Like Baba, like you, like everyone, I do not want to die in this world as it is.

The problem for me is that in this territory of the earthwatchers I feel suspended and need to find clarity. I want to tell you a little of what I see.

Although what I see and what I am are somehow blended. Forms. Thoughts. Ideas. Sensations. Are always merging together and carried through me.

When I look at the surroundings of the earthwatchers’ territory I see its environment as a magical symbol. A symbol of place for all that has ever lived and will live again.

My mind alone can’t comprehend this. Instead, meaning is given to my body by the vibrant notes of this place. I hear everything when I walk through the meadow. I hear the sleeping shadows of extinct animals. I hear the frost on the grasses. The glistening of everything. The light photons entering the green. When I walked through the wastelands to come here, I heard the space between what we call life and death, great winds, and through my eyes I heard the dust.

Earth. Sky. What great meaning-giving they evoked in humans before we had speech. They are yet able to evoke vital responses from us when we can respond to them without degrading them to things. All the signs and symbols and things we look at can be objectively determined in time and space. But only when we can respond to the evocation of what is beyond their appearance will we be able to draw upon our innate intuitive knowledge.

I love the wastelands and the polluted skies as much as the flowering earth and the sky of our meadow. I love them because in spite of how humans have stripped the earth and clouded the sky with waste, the soil and air yet exist in the present with what their significance has always been. We receive infinite creativity and nourishing from the earth. And the sky gives us air. Our breath. And light to see beyond the horizon.

Searchlights in People’s Hands

Vivian Darroch-Lozowski

ISBN 978-1-897323-49-6

Softcover, 5.5 x 8.5 inches, 240 pages

Fiction $24.95

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