Kith: The Riddle of the Childscape Hardcover – 2 May 2013
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If bravery itself could write (by definition it can't), it would write, I believe, like she does (John Berger)
[Griffiths has] the intelligence of a naturalist and the luminous originality of a visitor from another planet (The Times)
Griffiths's writing is dexterous and lush (New York Times Book Review)
A rich and extraordinary vision. Jay Griffiths is a fearless adventurer with words and images. I salute her courage (Philip Pullman)
Jay Griffiths is one of our most poetic and passionate critics of the ways of civilisation. Provocative, illuminating and shamelessly romantic (Theodore Zeldin)
Jay Griffiths writes with such richness and mischief about the one thing that could truly save the world: its children (KT Tunstall)
An impassioned, visionary plea to restore to our children the spirit of adventure, freedom and closeness to nature that is their birthright. We must hear it and act on it before it is too late (Iain McGilchrist)
About the Author
Jay Griffiths is the author of Pip Pip: A Sideways Look at Time and Wild: An Elemental Journey, both hugely acclaimed by readers, writers and musicians alike. A Love Letter from a Stray Moon, a fictionalised account on the life of Frida Kahlo, was released as an exclusive Penguin Special in 2012. She grew up in England and now lives in Wales.
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Top Customer Reviews
If you are a parent (as I am), you must put away your parental worries when you read this book (and all the 'well I can't possibly do that!' reactions) because this is not a manual (she is clear about that) and is not about parents and what they do/don't do. It is about the much wider picture of how society in the west has shifted and what affect that is having on childhood, children - and their parents. It is as much about the need to re-evaluate and listen to the voices of the romantic movement once again and the idea that our world has become dominated by left brain thinking - the left brain being the side of the brain that is busy with analysis, detail and organising - to the detriment of the right brain which perceives the wider patterns, the deeper relationships between things and the connections between ourselves and our world. (and if you want corroboration of this see this extraordinary talk by a neuroscientist who had a left brain stroke http://www.ted.com/talks/jill_bolte_taylor_s_powerful_stroke_of_insight.html)
Jay Griffiths speaks of the history of the politics of land enclosure, of the separation from the land, the gradual enclosure of childhood in houses and bedrooms and the triumph of consumerism that likes children in their houses so toys and electronics replace rivers, dens, woods, snails, bugs, sticks and dirt.Read more ›
It is beautifully, astonishingly written: almost one long poem. It will sweep you up and bundle you away.
Griffiths describes why we all - and, most punishingly, children - fail to thrive when deprived of our 'kith'. Why the lack of connection to, and freedom in, our land throttles an essential wellspring of the human animal.
The startling insights in 'Kith' cannot properly be described, however, by any reductionist précis. It is rather the sensitivity of Griffiths' observations which are transformative, having the ability to take us to places we had forgotten we knew. For example:
"A hush surrounds the daydreaming child, a different kind of air; as if the nearby air of the ordinary had evaporated into the air which the soul breathes..."
transported me from the de-sensitivity of adulthood to again experience the wondering, entranced reverie which we felt as children when our minds drifted magically and without boundary over all that is known and unknown.
"Before a mirror had meaning, before my skin was a boundary, I remember nature as if it were inside me. Birds sang and I heard it inside. It snowed: I snowed. It rained: I rained... I was all the world and all the world was me"
vividly conjures the Zen state that children naturally experience, and adults in deep meditation attain, on transcending the crude and artificial dualism of subject/object.
This work is, like Griffiths' other books, an exposition of rare beauty because it is transformative, re-opening our hearts to the truths of life which we buried far, far away when we stopped being all the world and tried to be an 'adult'.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Deeply poetic as well as admirably well informed, the way that Griffiths brings together the strands of the ways in which we have been dispossessed of our "acre" in which... Read morePublished 11 days ago by R C Cooke
I struggled to decide how to rate this book. I have to confess that I don't enjoy Jay Griffith's writing style and found myself skimming large sections towards the end of the book. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Juliette
I havent finished it yet
but its a very nurturing read
and i look forward to reading more of her books
Jay Griffiths is a genius - everything she writes is absorbing and fascinating.Published 9 months ago by CDG ELLIS
To quote Jay Griffiths: ....”and our mother, a gardener, thought that children, like seeds, grew best unobserved in good black earth, so in daffodils we were crazy with yellow... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Sinbad the Sailor
This book is unreadable nonsense. Page upon page of text which says nothing. Stuffed full of generalisations. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Part Time Reader
In the early 1950s I had a wild childhood. I lived in Bristol, a blitzed city. Everywhere there were "bombsites". They were Buddleja jungles. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Mr. Trevor Morgan
As in 'Wild' this book goes deep and questions everything that is important. Yes, it's a book for parents and for teachers and also for everyone who is interested in the search for... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Tracy B.
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