To celebrate Richard Mabey’s 80th birthday and to tie in with a new broadcast of the book as Radio 4 Book of the Week from 5th July 2021 read by the author, Little Toller is publishing the first of several collectable hardback editions of the writer’s books, the seminal Nature Cure, originally published in 2005 to great acclaim.
At the height of his career, having recently published Flora Britannica, the author and naturalist fell in to a deep and all-consuming depression. Unable to rise from his bed, his face turned to the wall, Richard Mabey found that the touchstones of his life – his love for nature and the land – could no longer offer him solace. But over time, with help from friends and a move to East Anglia, he slowly recovered, finding a new partner, and a new relationship with the landscape.
Nature Cure, full of nuance and energy, was a pioneering book in the genre that has since become known as new nature writing and received many plaudits on publication. For this new hardback edition, Richard has written a new foreword and Little Toller has commissioned a new jacket by the celebrated artist Michael Kirkman.
Richard Mabey is the prize-winning author of over thirty books, including Food for Free, The Unofficial Countryside, Flora Britannica, Beechcombings and a biography of Gilbert White. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
"A book of which only he could have written a single page [...] marvellously observed, deeply felt from sentence to sentence. The writing is exquisite."
– David Sexton, Evening Standard
"A brilliant, candid and heartfelt memoir [...] The account of how he broke free of depression, reshaped his life and reconnected with the wild becomes nothing short of a manifesto for living [...] Mabey's particular vision, informed by a lifetime's reading and observation, is ultimately optimistic. It is also what makes his voice so appealing amid all the froth and flam of the eco-debate."
– Philip Marsden, Sunday Times
"Written in the radiant, tingle-making prose that has earned Mabey literary prizes and a multitude of fans [...] both a wake-up call and an example of how the love of nature can electrify and heal the imagination."
– Val Hennessy, Daily Mail
"What good company is Richard Mabey – and how utterly necessary [...] like Seamus Heaney, he is one of those writers whose language is pressed very close to the world. It's exact and attentive, not a dirty glass" which divides us from nature."
– Kathleen Jamie, Scotland on Sunday
"Nature Cure moves between the nervous breakdown of an individual and the madness of the modern world with a prescience akin to that of TS Eliot's Waste Land."
– Jonathan Bate, Guardian
"Mabey is a radical, inheritor of an old English tradition [...] The core of the book is his exploration of his new landscape. It feels a privilege to share it, watching him unpick the layers of watery Norfolk, with dazzling skill and the warmest of hearts, as his troubled mind heals."
– Michael McCarthy, Independent
"He has rediscovered the credo that in his black moments he feared he had lost for ever: a belief in the importance of a sensual engagement with the world and a conviction that, to remain on an even keel in life, it is foolish to ignore the links that exist between feelings, the imagination and intelligence."
– Caroline Moorehead, Spectator
"Part autobiography, part meditation on the relationship between nature and culture. It's a dense, meandering work, a bit like Norfolk, with rivers of shining, sinuous prose suddenly emerging from intriguing thickets of opinion and memory [...] Mabey understands that beautiful writing is a matter of never being bigger than your subject [...] and has not lost the childlike pleasure in nature that transports him and his readers to the gates of heaven."
– Will Cohu, Daily Telegraph