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Good Reads  Natural History  General Natural History

Late Light The Secret Wonders of a Disappearing World

Biography / Memoir Nature Writing New
By: Michael Malay(Author)
263 pages, no illustrations
Late Light
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  • Late Light ISBN: 9781786581440 Paperback Jun 2024 In stock
  • Late Light ISBN: 9781786581419 Hardback Jul 2023 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 6 days
Selected version: £10.99
About this book Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

Late Light is the story of Michael Malay's own journey, an Indonesian Australian making a home for himself in England and finding strange parallels between his life and the lives of the animals he examines. Mixing natural history with memoir, this book explores the mystery of our animal neighbours, in all their richness and variety. It is about the wonder these animals inspired in our ancestors, the hope they inspire in us, and the joy they might still hold for our children.

Late Light is about migration, belonging and extinction. Through the close examination of four particular 'unloved' animals – eels, moths, crickets and mussels – Michael Malay tells the story of the economic, political and cultural events that have shaped the modern landscape of Britain.

For readers of Robert Macfarlane, Raynor Winn and Helen Macdonald, Late Light is a rich blend of memoir, natural history, nature writing, and a meditation on being and belonging, from a vibrant new voice.

Customer Reviews


Michael Malay is a writer and teacher based in Bristol. He spent his early years in Jakarta, Indonesia, before moving to Australia with his family at the age of ten. His creative writing has been widely published, including in Little Toller's online magazine The Clearing (of which he was also a co-editor), The Willowherb Review and Dark Mountain. In 2019, an early extract from Late Light was shortlisted for the Nan Shepherd Prize, and he is in the early stages of research for a new book, Four Funerals, which explores mourning rituals from different cultures. A chapter from that book, 'American Blue', was recently shortlisted for the Wasafiri Writing Prize (Autumn, 2020).

Biography / Memoir Nature Writing New
By: Michael Malay(Author)
263 pages, no illustrations
Media reviews

"Late Light brings the refreshing perspective of someone who goes from seeing England as a foreign place to someone who deeply studies its secret wonders. An astonishing read."
– Amy Liptrot, author of The Outrun

"Late Light is a book that glows with warmth in spite of its dark subtext. Malay's prose is gorgeous and astute; he looks with fresh eyes at unpopular species and finds poetry and meaning. His voice is irresistible – Late Light is a powerful new work of nature writing."
– Sara Baume, author of Seven Steeples

"n underscoring the concept of basic dignity as being the right of all species and illuminating the idea of an expansive, planetary politics, Malay offers a bright, fierce hope for the future."
– Neil Hegarty, Irish Times

"Malay writes prose of gorgeous balance, shifting between the patience of his observations of nature and a controlled examination of the politics and histories that affect landscapes. His voice is fresh, passionate, and beautifully attuned to the layers of enchantment and melancholy that emerge from the living world in today's challenging times."
– Melanie Challenger, author of On Extinction

"Late Light is a book of little revelations. It approaches small things with a quiet and tender profundity, and its attentiveness to the quivering of life will leave you aching with world-love."
– Abi Andrews, author of The Word for Woman Is Wilderness

"Late Light is simply mesmerising. Michael Malay makes the unseen details of our world vibrant and insistent. This is a book that will re-enchant you with the parts of nature we've too-long forgotten – and a writer we urgently need to guide us."
– Jessica J. Lee, author of Two Trees Make a Forest

"Most nature books claim to make the world feel bigger and more precious, but Late Light really does. It's a tender, marvellous book. Through his journeys to understand the lives of four "unloved" animals, Michael Malay pays a debt of deep respect to the Earth and its interconnectedness. It is also a kind of travel book, making me see the familiar landscapes of the place I call home (England and specifically Bristol) with a sparkling newness. This book has given me new eyes, and I was sad when it ended. Nature writing – and the world as a whole – feels fresher."
– Nick Hunt, author of Outlandish

"Beautiful in its clarity of thought and emotion, for some it could be life changing."
– Jeremy Irons

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