8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
'To be with the mountain as one visits a friend',
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This review is from: Living Mountain: Celebration of the Cairngorm Mountains of Scotland (Paperback)
I read a raptuous review of this somewhere. The edition I bought from Amazon was Aberdeen University Press 1977, reprinted 1984. I hope the more recent editions look less like a school reader for nature study classes. The writing is intense, based on even more intense observations. In a passage on walking in the snow a gamekeeper's advice is quoted - 'in a blizzard don't keep going if you can't see your own footsteps behind you'. The trouble I found with Nan Shepherd's writing is that you can always see her footsteps ahead of you. This can become very irritating. A warning then to my kind of reader. I suppose it was the old lady living a hard life and talking to her cow in Gaelic that finished me. Don't let me put you off the rapture. The review I mentioned called it a minor classic.To help towards a decision, here is a sample paragraph (from p41 - the book is 95 pages long)
'But even in this scene of grey desolation, if the sun comes out and the wind rises, the eye may suddenly perceive a miracle of beauty. For on the ground the down of a ptarmigan's feather has caught the sun. Light blows through it, so transparent the fugitive spindrift feather has become. It blows away and vanishes.'
Having come this far I should mention the poetry of R F Langley and any writings on Scotland by F. Fraser Darling, e.g. Island Years, Island Farm.
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Initial post: 16 Oct 2012 16:42:15 BDT
Yes, the book can be a tad preachey, and I'd take issue with some of her sweeping statements. But the sheer poetry and intensity outweighs any downside. This book is very 'zen' even tho Nan appears to fight against this aspect of her nature. I was swept away by her descriptions, read and make up your own mind.
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