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The Shepherd's Life: A Tale of the Lake District Hardcover – 2 Apr 2015

4.6 out of 5 stars 760 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 2 Apr 2015
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Allen Lane (2 April 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846148545
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846148545
  • Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 3 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 760 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 28,391 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


The nature publishing sensation of the year . . . Unsentimental yet luminous . . . An antidote to our modern metropolitan cynicism and a deeply moral book (Melissa Harrison, 'Books of the Year' The Times)

The Shepherd's Life gives the finger to Wordsworth. James Rebanks seems never happier than when his hand is up a Herdwick sheep's arse, but his book is a superbly written ode to an ancient way of life, and brought back childhood summers in the Lake District when I didn't look hard enough (Nicholas Hytner, 'Books of the Year' Guardian)

This beautifully sure-footed memoir ... peels back the plastic packaging to reveal the attritional nature of hill farming, with its knife-edge dangers, noise, blood, guts, familial claustrophobia and glorious countryside. It is an unsentimental education that celebrates the real countryside shorn of its lyrical excesses. It is also a triumphant tale of finding one's "alive and necessary" self. A pastoral for the 21st century (MEMOIR OF THE YEAR Sunday Times)

One sees the countryside differently after reading it . . . A rare and honest book about the realities of working life in the 21st-century countryside (Richard Benson, 'Books of the Year' Independent)

Evocative and perceptive (Patrick Barkham, Guardian 'Books of the Year')

This unsentimental account of the ups and downs of life as a Lake District shepherd has been one of the hits of the year . . . An instant rural classic, our age's Lark Rise or Cider with Rosie (Books of the Year Mail on Sunday)

Blissful . . . Rebanks writes with loving eloquence about a kind of deep-rooted life that is all but lost in the developed world (Geraldine Brooks, 'Books of the Year' Wall Street Journal)

A very good book (Alan Bennett)

This book makes you feel glad to be alive: James Rebanks is our modern equivalent of John Clare, Britain's greatest writer of the hard labour and radiant grace of the shepherd's life (Sir Jonathan Bate)

Affectionate, evocative, illuminating. A story of survival - of a flock, a landscape and a disappearing way of life. I love this book (Nigel Slater, author of Toast and The Kitchen Diaries)

From the Inside Flap

Some people's lives are entirely their own creations. James Rebanks' isn't. The first son of a shepherd, who was the first son of a shepherd himself, he and his family have lived and worked in and around the Lake District for generations. Their way of life is ordered by the seasons and the work they demand, and has been for hundreds of years. A Viking would understand the work they do: sending the sheep to the fells in the summer and making the hay; the autumn fairs where the flocks are replenished; the gruelling toil of winter when the sheep must be kept alive, and the light-headedness that comes with spring, as the lambs are born and the sheep get ready to return to the fells. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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