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A Single Swallow: Following An Epic Journey From South Africa To South Wales by [Clare, Horatio]
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A Single Swallow: Following An Epic Journey From South Africa To South Wales Kindle Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Length: 336 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Review

"His eye for detail and his elegant pen give flavour of each country he crosses" -- The Economist

'Fine lyrical writing and a gift for inventive, unexpected metaphor. A brave, modern, multicultural and open-hearted approach to travel itself' -- Guardian

`A gifted and lyrical travel writer, good at making contact with all sorts of people. A sensitive and intelligent observer' -- Financial Times

`Clare has produced an enthusiastic, often elegiac, chronicle of his encounters with the swallows' -- Sunday Times

`Fizzingly entertaining. Daring, sharp-edged, fast-moving, graceful, full of surprises. A great adventure, thrillingly realised' -- Literary Review

`He pays tribute to the extraordinary migratory journeys of the swallow. A book that combines travel with natural history'. -- Metro

`Travel writing at its very best, is enthralling, passionate, hair-raising, quirky, hilarious, informative, and utterly, utterly brilliant... irresistible stuff.' -- Daily Mail, Val Hennessy

`writes with an easy lyricism and in vivid detail' -- Independent

Review

`Clare has produced an enthusiastic, often elegiac, chronicle of his encounters with the swallows'

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1780 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital; UK ed. edition (2 April 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0031RDVYQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #102,640 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Top customer reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I like Horatio Clare's writing and was looking forward to reading this book. I was not disappointed. As usual, it is beautifully written and transported me to all the places on his journey following the migrating swallows. An excellent blend of natural history and travel writing.
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By Stewart M TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 12 Aug. 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Swallows have been loved, mythologised and studied by almost all human cultures where they are found. However, it has only been in recent years that the true magnitude of their journey has been understood. From their non-breeding grounds in southern Africa to the summer of the north, where they breed, the journey of the swallow is truly remarkable.

Swallows (technically Barn Swallows) have nested on and in the buildings of the author's Welsh farm for years and when they return in the summer "his swallows" have flown from South Africa back to the farm in about one month. The author's journey takes more or less the same path, and the same time - from South Africa back to his Welsh routes in about one month.

The journey of the Swallows is beset with dangers and random encounters, and along the way they may acquire a mate, survive by good luck rather than skill and find food wherever they can. This is a style of travel embraced by the author, and the book is based not only on the flight path that the Swallows take, but also the people he meets along the way. If the swallows fly from habitat to habitat on the way to Wales to breed, the author moves from relationship to relationship until he too finds his way home to Wales.

Throughout this splendid book there are gems to be found, trains with fewer doors than doorways, the idea that he is not travelling north, but staying in Spring as the world turns, that as we retreat into our world of ear-phoned tunes that only shared music left in Europe is the sound of traffic and that peculiar conceit that there is a fundamental difference between "travel" and "tourism". Each of these short sections would be a high point in any other book, but here they occur regularly.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
not enjoyable - now in charity shop
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
great
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Format: Hardcover
A modern day Laurie Lee - but with more grit and honesty. A Single Swallow is many things - part natural history, part journalism, part autobiography. There is spiritual observation and thought, there is romance and there is of course history and geography. The portrait of West Africa is dark, shocking, humorous and beautiful. Clare's ability to be both personal and objective in how he writes and observes, aided by his phemomenal and rhythmic prose, are winning ingredients in this quite brilliant book.
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Format: Paperback
A tip to all new parents: if you want your child to grow up and do, or be, something extraordinary – then give him, or her, an extraordinary name. I would wager that any boy named Horatio was odds on to make his mark. Travelling 6,000 miles in one journey is probably one way of doing that.
A Single Swallow is the most beguiling book I’ve had the good fortune to be introduced to in a very long time. From beginning to end it’s a charmer, introducing you to cultures, countries and peoples most of us never encounter. For the first time in my life I have an inkling of the true flavour of some of Africa’s countries – and I’m entranced.
A Single Swallow doesn’t flag once; it’s beautifully written, interlaced with wit and compassion and startling revelations. Although many of us know it already, especially if we’re fortunate enough to live in a free country with the freedom to travel to other countries, Horatio Clare’s book brings home the hardships so many folk endure. It also highlights the colour and music and openness of much of Africa.
Mmm. Off to buy another of Mr Clare’s books methinks. And who knows … maybe now I’ll go and visit one of those sand dams I’ve viewed from rather too far - for rather too long.
Thank you Mr Clare for your inspirational words.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a wonderful account of the journey of a swallow throughout its migration. I am completely in awe of how this little bird can fly so far. All the countries it flies over and to are discussed in a brilliant narrative. Buy it! Then next time you see a swallow arrive in the spring imagine its journey and be amazed.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wonderful device but seriously badly written from an imperialist point of view.
A missed opportunity.
More swallow and less pontificating please.
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