10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Magical and Mystical,
This review is from: Nightwalk: A journey to the heart of nature (Hardcover)
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To my great shame, I had never read any of Chris Yates previous ten titles. Having now read the mesmerising 'Nightwalk', I can well understand why almost all his titles remain in print, and though no fisherman, shall also investigate these on the strength of this lyrical and captivating journey.
There are only 212 pages here, and a generous text size, large margins, beautifully illustrated frontispieces to each short chapter, means that there is even less text here than you might expect. However, in a classic demonstration of 'less is more', I felt that the impact of Yates' spare, clear-eyed vision had a richness and depth of a true meditation, scattered with grace notes throughout. Whether it be the ghost badger in 'Watching & Waiting', a glow worm "like a fallen star" in 'The Unknown', layers of mist cloaking the trees, backlit by a 'gibous moon' or the evocative 'Half-Heard Bird', Yates guides you unerringly through the mystery and magic of this midsummer night's walk.
The quality of his writing means you are with him every step of the way, so that you share his unease, his surprise, and his delight on each new apparition or encounter, with some mysteries remaining satisfyingly unresolved. The penultimate chapter, 'Summer Alchemy' has a recipe for elderflower cordial, "the most heavenly quaff", and this reader was so transfixed with the power of Yates lyrical magic, that they resolved to attempt a similar adventure, if only they could prove disciplined enough to resist the siren song of bed...
Collins layout design and production values mean this book has a classy appearance and feel throughout, and sits lightly and readily in the hand. The condensed brevity (and beauty) of the chapters make it easy to dip into even when the Sandman is making his insistent presence known, so there is never any danger of losing one's place. There is something of the spare, elemental poetry of Kathleen Jamie Sightlines and the journey element recalls John Lister Kaye's haunting At the Water's Edge: A Walk in the Wild. However, Chris Yates is very much an original voice, and a captivating guide. A therapuetic plunge into nature's dark path.