Gerald Hughes's memoir of his little brother, Ted, has a muted, soul-swelling intensity, and the kind of holiness that requires no mention of God. Talitha Stevenson, The Observer Those biographers looking for insights into the poet s life will find in it gold dust for their first few chapters. John Sutherland, The Sunday Times "Here, his elder brother, Gerald, offers a quieter perspective with this lovely memoir of a childhood and a closeness that survived Gerald's move to Australia." Metro "His (Hughes's) poems drew deeply on his relationships with his family and the natural world around him, and in this genial and touching memoir Hughes's older brother Gerald shares his own memoires of their childhood in Yorkshire, roaming the woods and fields around their home in Mytholmroyd near Hebden Bridge and later in the larger mining town of Mexborough." Financial Times --The Sunday Times
On 17 August 1930, nine-year-old Gerald Hughes was introduced to his new baby brother, Ted, born in the middle of the night by the light of a bright star. From the moment Ted could toddle, they were inseparable, with Ted following his older brother everywhere: roaming the Yorkshire countryside, camping, making fires, pitching tents, hunting rabbits, rats, wood pigeon and stoats, flying kites, building model planes, fishing. All these adventures were to fuel the future Poet Laureate’s fascination with wildlife and the countryside, many of his finest poems having their roots in these early experiences. Those carefree, magical days are beautifully recalled in these pages, along with delightful portraits of the close-knit family Hughes Mam, Dad, grandparents and a host of colourful aunts and uncles. Although their paths were to diverge Gerald joining the air force as an engineer when war broke out and subsequently moving to Australia, Ted going to Cambridge, where he published his first poems and met Sylvia Plath they remained close to the last. Through his visits to England and their frank and regular correspondence, Gerald was privy to the vicissitudes of his brother’s life the traumatic lows, the triumphant highs and he writes about these later times also, drawing on Ted’s letters and on Sylvia’s, some hitherto unpublished, as well as on the recollections of their sister Olwyn and of Ted’s widow Carol. Gerald Hughes’ poignant and delightful memoir is further enriched by a touching foreword by Frieda Hughes, Ted and Sylvia’s daughter, as well as by the author’s own sketches, and by a wealth of family photos, many of which have never been seen before.