Edgelands Paperback – 2 Feb 2012
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"This book is a delight: witty and wryly contrarian" (Robert MacFarlane Guardian)
"A masterpiece of its kind... Even more uplifting is the chapter on weather - truly one of the most extraordinary passages of prose I have read in some time... This is, quite simply, beautiful, but it is also typical of a beautifully conceived work of exploration, by two emissaries to the wilderness who do the wasteland proud" (John Burnside The Times)
"Marvellously quirky, fascinatingly detailed and beautifully written" (Daily Telegraph)
"The edgelands, where the veneer of civilisation peels away, are the most despised and ignored of landscapes. Ambition turns to dust in the sewage farm and landfill site. But Farley and Roberts's mischievous and elegant forays into these marginal wastes, show that dust turns back to life in them - into riotous ecologies, agitprop architecture and the wonderful business of playing. A provocative, left-field read" (Richard Mabey)
"Haunting, often inspiring book...Edgelands covers an impressive range of politics, reminiscence, investigation and rumination" (Scotland on Sunday)
Shortlisted for the 2012 Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize and winner of the Foyles Best Book of Ideas Prize - this is a book about the blank spaces on the A-Z: the lost and unloved 'edgelands' between cities and countrysideSee all Product description
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I hoped for a revelation, something that would reveal to me the occult wonder of DIY superstores and coal-fired power stations. I didn't get that of course. I was, however, educated and entertained, which will do until that poem comes along.
Despite the collaborative process dictating that it's completely impossible to tell which author has penned which sections of which chapters, it's a testament to their observational talents that the breaks are seamless, and neither writes in a way which jars or grinds in such a way to make them obtrusively "individual".
The chapters are short, but brilliantly concise and frequently witty.
As a student of our urban landscape, and the symbols and ciphers which we've come to accept as commonplace, I was hooked on this book from the beginning. But there's more to recommend it here; those that appreciate poetry will find delight in the descriptions and frequent, wide-ranging references. Those that are intrigued by the planned (and unplanned) sprawl of our living environments will find intriguing reference to how our towns have evolved. Environmentalists will be challenged with a new perspective on how "ugly" brown-field sites can actually support more diverse eco-systems than our manicured community woodland projects. Those that long for a past of industry and engineering will find plenty of sepia-toned remininscences to keep them misty-eyed for a good few hours too.
In short, a book which I treasure to the point that it has changed the way I assess and judge the "edgelands" of my town. Highly, highly recommended.