340 pages, b/w photos
The Wild Places is both an intellectual and physical journey, and Macfarlane travels in time as well as space. Guided by monks, questers, scientists, philosophers, poets and artists, both living and dead, he explores our changing ideas of the wild. From the cliffs of Cape Wrath, to the holloways of Dorset, the storm-beaches of Norfolk, the salt marshes and estuaries of Essex, and the moors of Rannoch and the Pennines, his journeys become the conductors of people and cultures, past and present, who have had intense relationships with these places. Certain birds, animals, trees and objects – snow hares, falcons, beeches, crows, suns, white stones – recur, and as it progresses this densely patterned book begins to bind tighter and tighter.
At once a wonder voyage, an adventure story, an exercise in visionary cartography, and a work of natural history, it is written in a style and a form as unusual as the places with which it is concerned. It also tells the story of a friendship, and of a loss. It mixes history, memory and landscape in a strange and beautiful evocation of wilderness and its vital importance.
" [...] a naturalist who can unfurl a sentence – poetry really – with the breathless ease of a master angler"
– International Herald Tribune
" [...] this is beautiful as well as intelligent writing [...] a new naturalist to set beside the classics in our literature"
– The Evening Standard
"This beautiful book takes us to tree tops, beaches and mountains [...] in the company of a supremely lyrical writer"
– The Scotsman
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Robert MacFarlane's Mountains of the Mind: A History of a Fascination (2003), won the Guardian First Book Award, The Somerset Maugham Award, and The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award, and was filmed by the BBC. It was also short-listed for the Ondaatje Prize for the Literature of Place, the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, the Boardman-Tasker Prize for Mountaineering Literature, the Banff Mountain Literature Award, and long-listed for the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction. It was acclaimed as 'one of the two most important books written around the experience of mountains in the past fifty years'. Robert Macfarlane is a Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He lives in Cambridge with his family.