Crow Country Paperback – 7 Aug 2008
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"Luminously beautiful and dartingly intelligent, Cocker's obsessive quest after the ancient trails of rooks across our dusk skies leads to an almost sacred space: a place where the landscape of the imagination and the lovingly, minutely observed realities of the natural world come to roost together" (Richard Mabey)
"Guaranteed to ensure that you never look at a crow in quite the same way again" (Guardian)
"Fabulous... Like all classic works of natural history, is is an extraordinary revelation of riches and wonders and that lie at our doorsteps, completely ignored" (Independent)
"A splendid book...Crow Country's narrative of rookish discovery unfolds with splendid variety, incorporating scientific exposition, biography, environmental history, poetry, memoir and biography... Your heart beats faster as he describes a pack of tight-packed wigeon flushing in fear from an icy creak. You feel the shock of recognition as a barn owl meets his gaze. It's infectiously emotional. At it's most lyrical Crow Country matches the heights of that deeply eerie work of avian obsession JA Baker's The Peregrine; yet at its most scientific, it could sit alongside the best ornithological monographs... Crow Country is a significant, beautiful work" (New Statesman)
"Exquisitely written, passionate exploration of the local and commonplace" (BBC Wildlife)
`A lovely book'See all Product description
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The use of rook calls as a marker of ruralness is commented on, and this observation holds for more countries than just the UK. There are raven calls in the background of the Australian drama playing on the television in the room next to me. Crows as a group play an important part in many sets of folk tales and this book places the rook firmly into the current landscape.
The author engages in a conversation about the landscape that includes all aspects of place, and while some of the reviews here are critical of the amount of time he spends talking about himself, he has become part of his own landscape. If we do not see ourselves as part of a landscape, places become merely picturesque and the things within them are distanced from us.
This is a really good book that deserves to be widely read.
My interest is not just in the birds themselves, but equally in their profound attachment to place, their returning re-cycling seasonal habits and the places in which they are found.
Mark Cocker's use of language is the beautifully crafted hook that pulls the reader in to the depths of a deep misted walk in the fast dimming wintery light, building a real sense of being immersed in those places where he and the birds are so familiar.
Thoroughly recommended to make you look and see the familiar with new eyes.
I am disappointed that some readers fail to get this book, but it doesn't surprise me. Mark Cocker's writing exists at the edges of genres. He is part poet, part scientific observer, part memoirist and part philosopher. His observations are made with striking originality and, never content to simply record what is, he follows a train of thought to try and elucidate its significance. He tries to discover what it means to be human and to look at rooks. This book is thoughtful and profoundly intelligent, as such it leads us necessarily into unexpected and unfamiliar territory. Crow Country is not just a bird book, and nor is it a book just for bird lovers. The writing is unique. For a reader who comes to it without fixed expectations it will open the eyes and the mind.
If what you want are facts and photos of birds, well Mark Cocker has produced those too. But for me Crow Country is his masterpiece.
SENSITIVE BOOK…..I HAVE READ IT THREE TIMES SINCE GETTING IT.