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Dark and Magical Places

The Neuroscience of How We Navigate

Dark and Magical Places book cover

Lose yourself in this extraordinary account of how we navigate the world.

Within our heads, we carry around an infinite and endlessly unfolding map of the world. Navigation is one of the most ancient neural abilities we have – older even than language – and in ‘Dark and Magical Places’, Christopher Kemp embarks on a journey to discover the remarkable extent of what our minds can do.

From the secrets of supernavigators to the strange, dreamlike environments inhabited by people with “place blindness”, he will explore the myriad ways in which we find our way, explain the cutting-edge neuroscience that is transforming our understanding of it – and try to answer why, for a species with a highly sophisticated internal navigation system that evolved over millions of years, do humans get lost such a lot?

Chris Kemp may not be able to find his way out of a stairwell, but he has quickly and with no false turns made his way to the top of my list of favorite science writers... A natural storyteller, a deft explainer, and a terrific and funny writer.

Mary Roach, author of ‘Fuzz’

Read an extract from the book

Date published
256 pages

About the author

Black and white photograph of Christopher Kemp

Christopher Kemp

Christopher Kemp is a scientist and science journalist. He works at Michigan State University, overseeing a research group that studies Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases. He is the author of ‘Floating Gold: A Natural (and Unnatural) History of Ambergris’ and ‘The Lost Species: Great Expeditions in the Collections of Natural History Museums’.