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The Cow Book: A Story of Life on a Family Farm Hardcover – 1 Mar 2018
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'John Connell's superb memoir [...] is an unexpected triumph... Connell guides us on a fascinating history of the cow itself... It's a satisfying, powerful mix. One of the joys of this book is the prose, its clean plainness offset by the glorious cadences of Irish speech, which are also those of the Bible and the prayer book... [The Cow Book] is surely a prize-winner' -- Daily Mail
'John Connell's The Cow Book starts well... and gets better. This is an important slice of living, breathing agricultural history written with absolute honesty by an insider who has the rare quality of being able to see it from the outside too' -- Rosamund Young
'This is a brooding, powerful memoir about a 29-year-old man's return to the family farm in Ireland and his difficult relationship with his taciturn and short-tempered father... The strength and originality of this book clearly lies in Connell's searingly honest account of rebuilding his life' -- Guardian
'Connell's vivid writing brings his subject matter to life... There is much to praise here, from the way the author writes about the animals in his care, to his openness about depression and intelligent reflections on the state of modern farming. A natural writer, Connell is also a sympathetic and wise observer of the eternal struggle involving humans and animals' -- Sunday Times
'A book which pauses regularly to savour life's tiny nows... [Connell's] simple, spare style... An honest, vivid reckoning of what it's like to simultaneously belong and not belong, The Cow Book becomes John Connell's meditation on the real meaning of home and place' -- <i.Irish Times
'Admirably raw and unsentimental... Threaded through the short, punchy chapters is a cultural history of the cow, from its wild origins through to the domestication to mad cow disease and artificial, lab-grown beef... This makes for an original and thought-provoking book' --Mail on Sunday
'This book is a vivid and sharply observed account of a way of life which is almost invisible, a new hidden Ireland. It is also a fascinating portrait of a single sensibility, a born noticer, someone on whom nothing is lost, observing birth and death, the landscape and his own heritage' -- Colm Tóibín
'I usually view rural Ireland from a train or car window but reading this gripping, fascinating book I felt I was becoming a cattle farmer' -- Roddy Doyle
'A gorgeous read, full of warmth, truth and tentative wonder. John Connell has written 'an elegy to the nature I know', but this book is an elegy to so much more -- to art and myth and sorrow and longing' -- --Sara Baume
About the Author
John Connell's work has been published in Granta's New Irish Writing issue. He lives on his family farm, Birchview, in County Longford.
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