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Holloway [Hardcover]

Robert Macfarlane , Dan Richards , Stanley Donwood
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
RRP: £14.99
Price: £11.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

16 May 2013

Holloway - a hollow way, a sunken path. A route that centuries of foot-fall, hoof-hit, wheel-roll and rain-run have harrowed deep down into bedrock.

In July 2005, Robert Macfarlane and Roger Deakin travelled to explore the holloways of South Dorset's sandstone. They found their way into a landscape of shadows, spectres & great strangeness.

Six years later, after Deakin's early death, Macfarlane returned to the holloway with the artist Stanley Donwood and writer Dan Richards.

The book is about those journeys and that landscape.

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Frequently Bought Together

Holloway + The Wild Places + The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot
Price For All Three: £25.97

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (16 May 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571302718
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571302710
  • Product Dimensions: 22.4 x 14.4 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 41,236 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Anyone who has grown increasingly impressed by Macfarlane's nature writing over the past decade will feel instantly at home in this slight collaboration with writer Dan Richards and illustrator Stanley Donwood ... With Donwood's ghostly, Hansel and Gretel-esque illustrations peppering the prose, Holloway is undeniably a gorgeous package. Even though it takes less than half an hour to read, the subtle call to revel in the wonder of the natural world lasts much longer. (Ben East Observer)

An impressionistic piece of landscape writing, Holloway evokes the sense that time is densely layered in these secret lanes; many people have trodden here, and their ghosts are still apparent in the deep tree-shaded paths. (Carl Wilkinson Financial Times)

The pleasures herein are almost intangible and they're certainly initially fleeting. Yet these pellucid tales of Dorset's deep-set lanes and their duvets of foliage will stay with you long into the summer dusk and may even encourage you to embark on your own investigation of England's ancient arteries. (Paul Connolly Metro)

A perfect miniature prose poem of a book, beautifully printed and published. (William Dalrymple Observer Books of the Year)

Glorious ... endearingly open-hearted. (Barnaby Rogerson Sunday Telegraph Books of the Year)

This beautifully produced book is part tribute to the late Roger Deakin, part trafelogue, and bearing in mind the Faber imprint, part poetic evocation of the 'Holloways' of south Dorset, infused with Macfarlane's sensitivity to nature and beautifully illustrated by Stanley Donwood. (Michael Conaghan Belfast Telegraph)

Book Description

A beautiful piece of nature writing, illustrated with spectacular etchings of woodland scenes.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Only a little book 23 May 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
An excellent book, if you're a MacFarlane fan - which I am. It is poetic and concise, but maybe a little too concise. I'd not read the reviews fully before I bought this, so I was expecting something more like his previous three books. However, this is only a small anthology of 40 pages, including drawings. Having said that, it was a very enjoyable read and I'm glad to add it to the shelves.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Holloway. A collaborative gem. 10 Jan 2014
This book is a gem, to be placed on your favourite bookshelf. By its nature, a gem should be difficult to extract, unaware of its presence by many but when noticed, it will brightly gleam from within its new and appropriately placed surroundings. It should be kept safe in its chosen spot but returned to countless times so as to induce reverie, to transport and absorb -Shown only to those who understand its value.
Personally, I have placed 'Holloway' in a favourite spot, hidden slightly in a lamplit corner, atop a thick timber bookshelf. A snug 'cwtch' (an appropriate Welshism) amongst the other works of its authors and related books: (Rogue Male) and the works of Macfarlane's departed friend (Mr R. Deakin to name but a few).
However, I felt it also needed to be alongside 'Poetics of Space' by Gaston Bachalard. They certainly inhabit a place under a similar sky and I think the relation between these two books mean they sit happily on the same shelf. The theory of Phenomenology is present throughout Holloway.
The decision not to directly identify each author for some parts of the written content only add to its sense of wondering and discovery. Only by actually locating, delving into and inhabiting a holloway will one truly grasp the similarity that the images created by its writing and artwork accurately reflect. Such is the nature of these ensorcelling spaces. The appeal of this book relates directly to subjective experience of both my childhood and adulthood, but the connotations of this book are universal. Whether it be through play and imagination born from innocent adventures as a child and in subsequent years spent walking, hiking and working in the outdoors. The resonance this book has with me is palpable.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brief but beautiful 17 Jun 2013
By Seagull
Just feel it should be pointed out that this is a book of only 22 pages (including drawings). It's as long as a newspaper essay or article. It's very good but at the price very expensive.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful images; some magical descriptions 29 May 2013
By johhny
This slim book has a lovely feel to it and a great pleasure to own. The images are just wonderful and match the magical text.
I like the length - long enough to dip into and transport the reader to the mysteries of the Holloway - but not too big or heavy to overpower.
A real treat
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Meandering 23 May 2013
By Jane
Stanley Donwood's beautiful illustrations compliment Robert Macfarlane and Dan Richards' writing perfectly. A lovely book to hold and read through as we join their journey through this world they are sharing with us. This book is a piece of art work that I am glad to have in my collection, it is one of those books you put out on display because the visual aesthetic is as strong as the written work.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Overwrought 14 Jun 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I'm a great fan of Robert Macfarlane, having read his more substantial books, and recognise he wanted a memorial to his close friend who had died. However, although the line drawings are in the best 'English mystical' tradition and complement the text well, the actual writing feels rather thin and overwrought. The writing isn't really rich enough to qualify as 'prose poetry'. Bit twee and a bit coffee table.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and rewarding whimsy 6 April 2014
How intriguing to have a book with no discernible beginning, middle or ending. A book that wanders, as the writers wandered and gives you a glorious sense of how much they enjoyed the journey! The book is also a very beautiful object and perfect for a gift or ornamenting any bookshelf.

S & L Roberts
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime Collaboration 11 Feb 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Not to my recollection have a read / experienced a book created by three individuals, especially not so well conceived. The written elements by Macfarlane & Richards are exquisitely descriptive and take you on a journey through the holloways, the visuals by Donwood are also immersive turning this book from a read to an experience. A slender book that perches beautifully on the shelf, i feel that i will be picking it up again soon. it allows for a small inspirational getaway, which was just what i needed. Now i want to go write and draw from such experiences myself... a must.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
A slight read. Bit disappointing.
Published 2 months ago by Samhaingeal
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great thanks.
Published 2 months ago by Stephanie Patton
3.0 out of 5 stars A hard read - disappointing!
I am very interested in the subject of this book and I really like the drawings in this book but I do find the writing rather convoluted and somewhat pompous. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Laura, Exeter
4.0 out of 5 stars Short & Sweet
This was written in memorial to the great nature writer Roger Deakin, sadly taken from us all at the peak of his writing powers. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Half Man, Half Book
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Very good read most interesting of subjects. A passage away from the prefabricated society we have become . A passage through time .
Published 4 months ago by sosk
5.0 out of 5 stars Greened grooves in time and place
A Holloway (hollow way) is a path worn deep into the bedrock, an ‘old way’ as previously described by Robert Macfarlane. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Adam
3.0 out of 5 stars Ummmm
Could do better. Seemed to lack something, quite a lot actually. If only Roger Deakin was still with us, he would have helped make this book a great read.
Published 6 months ago by S. BIGGIN
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful little book
Excellent. Both authors have a wonderfully lyrical way of describing the English landscape. I raced through it in one sitting. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Darius Hinks
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute beaut!
An absolutely beautiful read, I found it thoroughly immersing and it is a book that I will come back to time and time again. Read more
Published 9 months ago by ktellent
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing and Expensive.
I like Robert Macfarlane's work - it's usually erudite, informed, entertaining and well-observed - but this book was disappointing in so many ways. Read more
Published 9 months ago by theleveller
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