Unearthed : On race and roots, and how the soil taught me I belong by Claire Ratinon Published: 2 June 2022
"When we speak of our origins, that which made us, we speak of our roots. We acknowledge how our identities are intertwined with land, whether it's the one we are standing on or another we lay claim to."
Unearthed is the story of how Claire Ratinon found belonging through falling in love with growing plants. For years her troubled relationship with the land of her birth left her feeling unwanted, but reconnecting with nature allowed her finally to put down roots.
Like many diasporic people of colour, Claire grew up feeling cut off from the natural world. She lived in cities, reluctant to be outdoors and stuck with the belief that success and status could fill the space where belonging was absent. Through learning the practice of growing food, she unpicked her beliefs about who she ought to be.
Over her first year living in the English countryside and with the first vegetable patch of her own, she finds a pathway back to nature's embrace. And through growing the food of Mauritius, recording her parents' stories and exploring the history of the island, she also strengthens her connection to her homeland. A beautiful work of nature-writing, memoir and storytelling, Unearthed urges us to look to the world outside for the belonging and home we seek.
It is a heartfelt call to reconsider our history, the way we think about nature and the complex relationships we all have with the land.