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Water and Sky: Voices from the Riverside Hardcover – 1 May 2014


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Little Toller Books; 1st ed edition (1 May 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 190821323X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1908213235
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 16.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 190,435 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"A marvellous and haunting sequence ... It is wonderful to read such experiment of voice, tone and vision." ROBERT MACFARLANE "The lyricism of Sentance's scenes of rural life is at times reminiscent of Ronald Blythe; the figures that step into these vignettes are etched with the same respectful and gritty elegance, their voices are quiet, tough and honest." TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT "The river is a perfect wet and sinuous thread to tie this very engaging book together, as well as a perfect metaphor for its deeper yet subtle intentions. It would be difficult to over praise it, except that shouting loudly and enthusiastically would seem crass in its company and counter to its lovely mellow, yet unsentimental tone that lights it from within." TIM DEE

About the Author

Neil Sentance was born in Lincolnshire in 1969. He now lives in west Dorset with his wife and two children. A regular contributor to Caught by the River, Water and Sky is his first book.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Lurcio Wittgenstein on 13 May 2014
Format: Hardcover
A beautifully crafted and produced book, ‘Water and Sky’ is an exquisite evocation of a largely rural but nevertheless distinctively human place, a farming community and market town in the middle decades of the twentieth century. It is peopled by the author’s own near ancestors - characters shaped by the land, by war, and the exigencies of the changing habitus of rural England. And, of course, by a certain waterway.

Despite the deep affinity to people and place, Sentance is not dreamy about the past, nor his family’s. In a series of short ‘essays’ (there is not a good genre word for what Sentance is up to ....) we encounter their toils, their schemes and japes, alongside their tragedies, and it is fond, respectful, amused, but not nostalgic or judgemental. The book is infused with the author’s liminal sensibility, perched stylistically and thematically on the thresholds of town and country, childhood and adulthood, self and other, poetry and prose.... water and sky. He is of this place and these people, but he is not, ultimately, one who stays.

The quality of writing, the choices of both language and tone, are - to borrow from Robert McFarlane’s puff on the dust jacket – marvellous. The farmer’s rough hands “emeried by the clayey earth he’d shovel day and night”; a boy (the author’s father) on his bike, “freedom transmitted with every derailleur gearshift”. One could choose from so many examples.

More than memoir, the people and places in ‘Water and Sky’ are fully four dimensional, a quality the thematic but anachronistic ordering of the essays accentuates. We move among and between them. As you close the book, you may think you can see them all gathered, vast menagerie in tow, at Foston Ford - the “last stayers”. And so you can.

To stay a while in their’s, and Sentance’s company, is a rare and fine thing.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By rhewit on 9 May 2014
Format: Hardcover
A beautifully written, beautifully presented, journey back in time that's both deeply personal and universal and which avoids the trap of sentimentality. It's short (too short!) and I gulped it down in one sitting, but such is the clarity and brilliance of the prose that I've been back to savour it again and again, sipping at it like a fine wine. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Martin Purnell on 14 Sep 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Just wonderful. Joyful, moving and sometime hilarious. Truly a book to savour.
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