Top positive review
To be read carefully, slowly and with plenty of pauses to reflect
on 2 October 2017
Nan Shepherd is nothing like a household name, but this is likely to change as I understand her face is about to appear on the Scottish £5 note. This is the only book of hers I have read but it would seem to me that an increase in her profile is well deserved.
Although this is a small book, the prose is so beautiful and dense that it is jam packed with thoughts and ideas. Nan Shepherd is a very close observer of the world around her; in this case the Cairngorms mountains on her doorstep. In reading this book I was reminded of books such as Annie Dillard's Pilgrim At Tinker Creek and the Summer and Winter books of Tove Jansson. What these three female writers share is an ability to go deep into the local world around them rather than to travel widely (and inevitably provide a more shallow experience).
Although small, the book is very difficult to pin down succinctly because it has many elements to it, including autobiography, philosophy (particularly on the subject of knowledge), sociology and, of course, natural history.
This book may well end up being considered a classic of its type and should be read slowly and probably read multiple times.