Next to Nature: A Lifetime in the English Countryside

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Next to Nature: A Lifetime in the English Countryside

Next to Nature: A Lifetime in the English Countryside

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Good-humoured, unpretentious and a bit eccentric, it's more like having a well-read friend than a subscription to a literary review. His work, which has won countless awards, includes Akenfield (a Penguin 20th Century Classic and a feature film), Private Words, Field Work, Outsiders: a Book of Garden Friends and numerous other titles.

I’ve been reading this over Christmas along with Guy Shrubsole’s brilliant new The Lost Rainforests of Britain, and I’ve enjoyed every moment. For more details, please consult the latest information provided by Royal Mail's International Incident Bulletin. he lives with a deep, authentic sense of wonder * TLS * Some of the most beautiful and precise prose in modern English . The melancholy ever-rolling stream of Time through dark old rooms, the tilting photographs of past incumbents in damp vestries, the melting ice in dank shrubberies, the unwanted (or possibly longed for) companion catching one up in the foggy lane, and history seen as a medieval box of fun holy tricks to poke about in, these were among the experiences of January. He was a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and was awarded their prestigious Benson Medal in 2006.All the charm, wonder, eccentricity and vigour of country life is here in these pages, and told with such engaging directness, detail and colour. The structure is perfect, compiling Blythe's columns from the Church Times by date, but not by year, so that we read through the circular time of the natural and ecclesiastical year, without altogether knowing where we are in a linear time that seems far less significant out in this little patch of the old rural England, where any self-respecting village needs something to hang dreadful stories on; Borley Rectory was just down the road, and "This was a Mabey walk to rival his walk with me to Wormingford Mere where, although I don't like to boast, we have a dragon.

Blythe is of course best known for Akenfield, his oral history of a small Suffolk community, and, as someone as deeply rooted in just such a community as Blythe was, the pieces gathered together in Next to Nature have a remarkable immediacy and honesty of experience and expression. Next to Nature is a hoard of observation, gossip and stories designed to take you through the year, with something rich and strange on every page -- Hilary Spurling * The Spectator, Books of the Year 2022 * [Ronald Blythe] is an English institution . Mrs Woolf, wife of the manager, is a very celebrated author and, in her own way, more important than Galsworthy. You can unsubscribe from our list at any point by changing your preferences, or contacting us directly. I seldom read any book for an entire year so Ronnie, as he was known to his many friends, has felt like a companion throughout 2023.a work to amble through, seasonally, relishing the vivid dashes of colour and the precision and delicacy of the descriptions' THE SPECTATOR'My favourite read of the year . The love of nature, the land, the creatures in the surrounding fields and trees meshes seamlessly with an encyclopaedic command of the back story to everything and the rhythms of the country churches.

He is our tribal storyteller, plugged into a common stream of inquisitive conversation that joins us as a species -- RICHARD MABEY One of the great prose stylists on the twentieth century .Yes, among other things, it’s a paean to the quiet, diffused but real religion of rural life; but, that itself is inextricably linked with observation of life through the seasons (and, as Muslims continually point out, if more Christians actually “lived” their religion there would be wider ground for mutual respect and dialogue.

This was a 2022 Christmas present, signed by the centenarian author, now no longer with us, alas, having died in January of this year. And no wonder, when he seems such wise and genial company, one of those rare souls who understands that "it takes an age to create one's own peerless dust and muddle. I imagined him reading them by lamplight, just as I read when I was a boy, the twin wicks faintly waving inside the Swan glass.To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. His] minute observation of places, people and plants, his ear for scraps of dialogue and his feeling for poetry and painting make everything about those days immediate . These times are so worrying with such terrible suffering and poverty,we pray and hope for better times but this book is a wonderful read. I think Ronald Blythe is a genius in a special, but perhaps overlooked, journalistic genre – the nature notes or country talk columns. After the brilliant and much acclaimed "Akenfield", I found this to be a disappointing book having endless and tiresome quotations from literature and the Bible (Mr.



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