1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Never forgets that the bird is real.,
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Barley Bird: Notes on the Suffolk Nightingale (Hardcover)
"Barely Bird" is the local Suffolk name for the Nightingale - so called because the bird would start singing rest as the barley crop would begin showing in the field. Of course, this connection is a coincidence brought about by human intervention in the life of a grass and the arrival of a bird from far, far south.
This seems to be the lot of the Nightingale - to be connected with and linked to things that are outside of its own biology.
This slim volume makes the point that no other bird (in Europe) seems to have been lauded in so many ways, by so many people, in so many cultures.
It's a bird that has almost been swallowed by its own myths, so that the remarkable character of its life is hidden by the artistic and allegorical responses that surround it. And it is the acknowledgement of this that gives this little book its value.
While the book does explore the many and varied responses that the Nightingale as created, its never losses touch with the fact that there is a real bird in the bushes. A real bird for which all human responses are irrelevant, and whose purpose in singing the way it does may never really be understood.
This is Mabey almost at his best - a combination of heart felt reaction, clear eyed analysis and formidable research.
As you may have guessed by now, it comes highly recommended.