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The Smell of Summer Grass: Pursuing Happiness- Perch Hill, 1994-2011 Hardcover – 31 Mar 2011


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: HarperPress; 1st edition (31 Mar. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007335571
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007335572
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 3.6 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 133,619 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Adam Nicolson is the author of many books on history, travel and the environment. He is winner of the Somerset Maugham Award and the British Topography Prize and lives at Sissinghust Castle in Kent.

Product Description

Review

'Candid, observant and often very funny' Daily Mail

'A delightful memoir - a reminder that the very best writing starts at home' Robert McCrum, Observer

Praise for ‘Sissinghurst’:

‘A masterpiece of rural romanticism, told with shameless lyricism…the vision is one of nature, art and human history in glorious coalition…uplifting.’ Sunday Times

‘Unusual, impassioned and lucidly written…a gripping but serious history of Sissinghurst Castle.’ Sunday Telegraph

‘Excellent. A clear-eyed picture…beautiful.’ Guardian

‘A wonderful book.’ Financial Times

‘An expert at conveying the “stuff” of place, Nicolson is equally good with people…as Adam Nicolson understands, places tell us about the people who walked them and the dreams they pursued’ TLS

About the Author

Adam Nicolson is the author of many books on history, travel and the environment. He is winner of the Somerset Maugham Award and the British Topography Prize and lives at Sissinghust Castle in Kent. His other books include ‘Arcadia’ (‘Earls of Paradise’ in hardback), ‘Men of Honour’, ‘Sea Room’, ‘Power and Glory’ and ‘Seamanship’ and, most recently, ‘Sissinghurst’.


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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Barryjay on 30 April 2011
Format: Hardcover
I admire the way Adam Nicolson evokes the emotion and feeling of place. I have admired his work for many years, following his articles, Rural Ride and later, View From Perch Hill, in the Saturday Telegraph magazine. Indeed, I still have many of them collected in my news scrap books. I would dearly love to write like him, he describes my feelings and emotions exactly. Reading his books for me is like pulling on a well loved sweater, comfortable and familiar. So after reading his original articles it was a delight to read of his reflections after living at Perch Hill Farm for twenty years. (Can it really be that long?) He relates how, during a low period in his life, he and his wife, Sarah Raven, embarked upon a search for a place of solitude which would be a balm for the soul and a engender a healing of the spirit. Perch Hill Farm on the edge of the Weald became such a place. The book traces their time there and how it initially provided the healing process they both desired and eventually a means of earning a living both from Sarah's gardens and Adam's animals and writing. He draws you into their life on the farm and into the locality with friends and neighbours, on the way reflecting on the writings of a one time local inhabitant, Rudyard Kipling, who based his novel, Puck of Pook's Hill, in a wood near to their farm. This book is about mental and physical redemption, preserving and protecting local history and ecology. I found it totally enthralling and recommend it unreservedly.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By patricia marshall on 3 Mar. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a lovely book with some great photos. However, when I flicked through it it seemed familiar.
I read Adam Nicholson's book Perch Hill published in 1999 and still have a copy. On looking at it I realised that 8 chapters are the same and the final 3 chapters are new. This is very disappointing as I was looking forwrd to reading this "new book"
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Papalamour on 21 Sept. 2011
Format: Hardcover
I adored Adam Nicolson's Sea Room and regard it as a precious, strangely dignified and humble work. Holiday time 2011 and i decide to add "the smell of summer grass" to my list. Although it would be nearly impossible to argue against the beauty of his writing I am sorry to say that his skewed perspective of rural authenticity spoilt this book for me. His dramatic touches with "penury" were fleeting and obviously silently backed with maturing investments and lucrative (and well deserved) writing contracts. His fundamentalist "back to rustic arcadia" opinions on rutted tracks, lanes etc were insensitive and nonsensical and the majority of his relationships with the community that he lived in seemed to involve him paying them to maintain this arcadian artifice for him.

Nicolson seems both uncomfortable with those in society with whom he was brought up "fox hunts and game birds" and at the same time incapable of maintaining normal relationships (at least those that he writes about) with the local rooted "owners" of the landscape that he clearly loves and appreciates. This outsider perspective clearly produces informed and entertaining snapshots of his life, but always at a distance, a London-centric Raj of the Weald.

The only positive that i took from this self-obsessed journey of rustic righteousness was that it enticed me to read Puck of Puck's hill for the first time in thirty years.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sandra D on 6 July 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book as I am a fan of Sarah Raven (Adam Nicholson's wife) and what I think must be her idylic life. Adam writes beautifully and you can really understand the difficulties they faced.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By lisa crocker on 29 May 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I could not put it down - for me the book had everything! The story told by Adam Nicholson brought me into his journey of dreams, hard work, learning, reflection and also the choice of "a road less travelled". And I laughed so much, the author has a wonderful sense of humour!
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