'I went for a walk around the garden. A great tit warbled above a patch of coltsfoot. I felt a thousand discoveries awaited…'
Notes from a Summer Cottage by Nina Burton is a beautifully written nature memoir about the time spent renovating her late mother's cottage in the Swedish countryside, and all the species that she encountered her during her stay.
Did you know that there are more ants altogether than the number of seconds that have passed since the Big Bang? And that in relation to their size, their anthill cities can be larger than London and New York? Or, that a bird's migratory instinct is so strong that an injured stork once escaped captivity and was found six weeks later having walked 150 kilometres, following the migratory path of his flock on foot? What begins with a renovation of her late mother's summer cottage swiftly turns into an exploration of nature, life and philosophy, in which Nina Burton reveals the inner lives and hitherto unknown habits of the animals with which she shares.
Within the walls, the ceiling and the floor of the cottage and its surrounding garden, she encounters a host of animals – ants, honey bees, foxes, squirrels, blackbirds, badgers, pigeons, deer and many more – all of whom have made her house and garden their home, and all of whom cause Nina to reflect on their role within our world.
Nina Burton is a poet and essayist, famous for her unique style of combining lyric poetry and the natural sciences. In 2016 she won the prestigious August Prize for Non-Fiction for The Gutenberg Galaxy Nova, and has also been awarded amongst others the Swedish Nobel Academy’s Essay Prize, Sweden’s biggest non-fiction award. Nina is a fellow of The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and the prestigious literary association Samfundet De Nio.