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The Bookman's Tale Hardcover – 30 Jun 2009

4.0 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Canterbury Press Norwich (30 Jun. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1853119806
  • ISBN-13: 978-1853119804
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 23.5 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 591,760 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Talking of bats, there is a lovely passage in this book in which the author wakes up to find a bat lying next to him. The bat is alive but doesn't respond to questioning, so Blythe carries him out to the shed, to "leave him to his bat thoughts". This is a collection of the author's columns from Church Times: a kind of rural journal of evensongs, visits from friends, books read and remembered (Auden, RS Thomas), the changing light through his windows, and the watchful moods of his white cat. There are excursions to Aldeburgh or Little Gidding, and visits from chirpy young engineers who rewire his house or find a spider gumming up the central heating. Such material could have made for an appallingly fey read, but Blythe's extraordinary attention to the world around him, and the modest exactness of his thinking, make him seem curiously apt to keep the company of those old Greeks up above. The writing throughout is exquisite ("rain-smirched light looking for the altar" in church; the "nice drudgery" of proofreading a book; a painter's "easel folded up in the car like a sleeping insect"), and a serenely humane humour is never far away: "How does one listen to the radio without hearing all this news? It is a problem." My only disappointment (and a vanishingly rare one in this job) was that the book was so short. --Steven Poole,The Guardian


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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is the latest offering from Ronald Blythe and what strikes me as a devoted fan is that even at his not inconsiderable age he is very much of the world. We meet again Thomas Traherne, John Clare,W H Auden, Charles Causley all who have influenced him and his writing over the years. We read of his joy in younger friends, visiting places old and new and not forgetting his much loved white cat. Most of all it is the ongoing beacon of his faith which has sustained him all through his life shining through and providing an inspiration to his readers old and new.
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By Damaskcat HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 2 Mar. 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I lived in Suffolk many years ago and reading this book brought back memories of that countryside. The book consists of short essays - two pages each - about the countryside, not just is Suffolk but elsewhere. The author visits friends and has friends visit him. Books old and new, read and written are discussed. The white cat strolls lazily about the house and garden and a bat turns up on his pillow one morning. The prose is lyrical and easy to read.

Each essay gives a glimpse of the author's life and activities and leaves the reader with a feeling of peace and tranquillity. There are ideas for reading both poetry and prose and vignettes of poets, playwrights and artists met and entertained. I found it enjoyable and relaxing to read and it is an ideal book to dip into at the end of the day.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is a delight . Perfect for dipping into and full of fascinating facts as well as common sense and a feel for country living.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Bookman's Tale

A slight book, but as all Ronald Blythe's books, very readable. Somehow his enviable character always shines through. Buy it.

Lesley Valentine
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ronald Blythe is one of my favourite authors. We share a love of the Suffolk countryside and both exercise a ministry as Readers in country parishes. I found this particular book very interesting. Weaving in and out of literary encounters down the years the author revels in the lives of people who have lived their lives in the bracing country air. A joy to read and one of Blythe's best.
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