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This Luminous Coast [Hardcover]

Jules Pretty
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
RRP: 25.00
Price: 17.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Full Circle Editions Ltd; 1st Edition edition (1 Mar 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0956186963
  • ISBN-13: 978-0956186966
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 417,642 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A long walk with a cast of thousands. 30 July 2011
By Stewart M TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The coast of East Anglia is the UK's climate change front line. As sea levels keep creeping upwards the sea moves further and further inland. High tides become higher, surges sweep further and what was once there will be lost.

This is the central idea that follows Jules Pretty has he walks this changing coast line. Just like a long walk, the book seems to have a number of different paces. Slow and meandering in some places, with unexpected reasons to pause, and pacey and page turning in others.

One aspect of this book that I particularly enjoyed was the author's inclusion of people and activities that are often overlooked or criticised. He goes hunting with wildfowlers and hunts duck from a punt. By doing this I think he gives a much wider account of the way in which people use and interact with this landscape than some other authors may have done. However, this does mean that there is a huge "supporting cast" of people in the book, many of which come and go within a page or two. At times I found this rapid turn-over of characters a little frustrating.

However, for all the detail in the book, in its concluding section the author admits that he has missed or ignored many aspects of this long coast line. I think that this is a shame, as some ideas or themes are repeated a number of times. We meet many sunken villages, with churches often the last building, and there are frequent caravan parks and "organic" huts on the foreshore. We could have lost some of these and gained something new in their place.

In some ways this book covers well trodden ground, Cocker's Crow Country, Baker's
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Engagingly written coastal adventure 8 July 2012
By Sentinel TOP 500 REVIEWER
I've had an enjoyably rich vein of 'nature reading' recently, whether it be Kathleen Jamie's memorable Sightlines, Chris Yates magical Nightwalk: A journey to the heart of nature, or Rob MacFarlane's wordy The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot, and Pretty's account of walked sections of the coastline of East Anglia sits well with the best of these.

The principal strength of this engaging meander around the ragged coastline is the quality of Pretty's writing: spare and evocative descriptions of both the elemental (he captures both the quality of light, and the many moods of sea and weather quite superbly), as well as the ever-changing interplay between sky and sea. I also felt, unlike MacFarlane's adventures, that I was right there at Pretty's shoulder all the time, and that his 'rolling cast of characters' were mostly used appropriately to enrich the reader's experience.

Unlike some reviewers, I felt this wonderfully rich collection of maritime, geological, meteorological insights, allied to vivid descriptions of flora and fauna, and the 'captured experience' of workers on the land, was a celebration and tribute, rather than simply a vehicle to illustrate "our environmental predicament", although there is a vivid account of the storm and disastrous floods of 1953. The acid test is that Pretty's descriptions made me want to explore many of these atmospheric locations for myself.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A little disappointed 7 Feb 2012
I was delighted when I came across this book and bought it immediately. But I was disappointed in the reading and reach the end with a sense of relief. There are of course some wonderful sketches of places and people--the farmer and the robin, the wildfowlers and the punt, the reedcutters and many others--and I read searching for the next little sketch that would engage me.

But for me there was no overall arc of a story to hold and direction my attention, as Pretty walks here, then there along the coast. Without such a holding story these lovely sketches are swamped with too much moment-to-moment detail, often in paragraphs that jump about without sufficient sense of overall form. I think some careful editing would really have helped this book be as good as it should be.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice one Centurion..... 29 Dec 2011
Although written by my brother I still feel a need to comment on this book. Jules has written many books and all of them are jolly excellent, but they have also been jolly academic and read like the books they are supposed to be. THIS ONE is different. He has moved away and given a text which is engaging, interesting and funny. Of course I will like this book and of course I am biased BUT this is the best one yet for someone like me who just likes a cracking good read. My suggestion is buy the hardback copy because it's just a very nice book, with mre to come, I believe. This is a clear break from a traditionally held writing style. If you live in East Anglia, it is a must, if you don't then you should get it to show you just how 'luminous' our fabulous castline is. As we say....'a cracking good read'.....
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