7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A sense of place,
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This review is from: Song Of The Rolling Earth: A Highland Odyssey (Paperback)
This is a beautifully crafted book about 'duthchas' - the Gaelic word for a sense of belonging to a place. It's the story of the author's passion for nature - formed in his earliest boyhood, developed through his schooldays with, at its core, an examination of his love affair with the natural environment in and around his field studies centre and home at Aigas, in the Highlands of Scotland.
The small, beautifully illustrated, book leaves you breathless at the breadth of its scope: from history and folklore to etymology & entomology; from zoology to botany to ornithology; from philosophy to neuro-physiology; from agriculture to ecology; from nature observation to humorous anecdote; from drama to moving pathos. He describes with poetic, apt imagery the nesting swifts, mating adders, badgers, otters, wood wasps, frozen wrens, the people in his Glen...the list is endless.
The author writes not only with passion but with poetry, compassion, empathy and curiosity: at its heart this book questions the 'whys' of nature - what JLK terms 'the insight conundrum'. His style is accessible, yet erudite, allusive yet original. He quotes from mentors such as Frank Fraser Darling and more humble sources such as crofter-neighbour, Bella Macrae. Weaving in and out of this autobiographical exploration of Aigas and its significance both to the author and his family and to the hundreds of people who have personally experienced Aigas programmes, is a philosophical musing on man's impact on the environment - for better and for worse.
The book is intensely satisfying, offering beautiful prose that warrants re-reading to savour fully the incredibly apt language and imagery used, alongside dramatic or intensely moving incidents and passages of scholarly erudition. The reader is left, feeling that this man has let you share not just his history and home, his business venture and family, but his very raison d'etre and soul. It is a privilege to have been invited in.