As November stubs out the glow of autumn and the days tighten into shorter hours, winter's occupation begins. Preparing for winter has its own rhythms, as old as our exchanges with the land. Of all the seasons, it draws us together. But winter can be tough.
It is a time of introspection, of looking inwards. Seasonal sadness; winter blues; depression – such feelings are widespread in the darker months. But by looking outwards, by being in and observing nature, we can appreciate its rhythms. Mountains make sense in any weather. The voices of a wood always speak consolation. A brush of frost; subtle colours; days as bright as a magpie's cackle. We can learn to see and celebrate winter in all its shadows and lights.
In this moving and lyrical evocation of a British winter and the feelings it inspires, Horatio Clare raises a torch against the darkness, illuminating the blackest corners of the season, and delving into memory and myth to explore the powerful hold that winter has on us. By learning to see, we can find the magic, the light that burns bright at the heart of winter: spring will come again.
Horatio Clare is a critically acclaimed author and journalist. His first book, Running for the Hills: A Family Story, won the Somerset Maugham Award. His second book, Truant is 'a stunningly-written memoir', according to the Irish Times. A Single Swallow: Following an Epic Journey from South Africa to South Wales, was shortlisted for the Dolman Travel Book of the Year; Down to the Sea in Ships: Of Ageless Oceans and Modern Men won the Stanford-Dolman Travel Book of the Year 2015. Horatio's first book for children, Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot, won the Branford Boase Award 2016 for best debut children's book. He lives in West Yorkshire.
"[Clare] is a fine observer, and the lushness of his prose offers a striking contrast with the stark lineaments of the winter landscape, both physical and spiritual."
– Jane Shilling, Evening Standard
"This is a very powerful book indeed [...] . Supremely well-written [...] Clare is a brilliantly inventive prose stylist, and some of his descriptive writing here is so good it makes you stop and smile and immediately read it again."
– Roger Cox, The Scotsman
"Vivid, luminous prose"
– The Observer
"Magical, moving and deeply atmospheric – this is a hymn to nature, to the north and to the hardest of seasons"
– Patrick Barkham
"A treasure of a book, wonderfully attentive in outlook and generous in spirit"
– Amy Liptrot
– Emma Mitchell
"Cosy as a log fire, bracing as a moorland squall [...] a potential life-saver for those of us who – like Clare himself – are wont to enter a state of low morale come November [...] When the mercury plummets, forget hygge, save on scented candles, and read this instead"
– Caroline Sanderson, The Bookseller
"This sensuous evocation of winter darkness is a startlingly honest escape from seasonal depression. Horatio Clare beams through his own despair by exposing the intimacy of family love in the fiercely shafting light of his glittering prose."
– John Lister-Kaye
"An enthralling book of beauty and pain, tenderness and imaginative absorption [...] [Horatio Clare is a] prose-poet of mesmerising lyricism"
– Juliet Nicolson, Spectator
"Thoughtful, careful writing that speaks from the heart [...] ideal for curling up with during the darker days, especially if you suffer at all from the winter blues. [...] This is a quiet celebration of life"
– New Welsh Review
"Lyrical and beautiful"
– Kate Blincoe
"A beautifully written book that struck a chord with me on many occasions [...] insightful and thought provoking"
– Books and Me blog
"The Light in the Dark is a moving and poetic look at this time of year and one book I rejoice in. This is a torch to guide us through the dark winter days until spring's first rays of light warm us"
– John Fish, The Last Word Book Review
"Inspiring [...] If you're a fan of Matt Haig, I would definitely recommend this too"
"Throughout the book there's a real magical quality to the imagery [...] I found that I spent some time going back over particular sentences because they were so lovely [...] There is much to reflect upon in this winter journal, particularly if you too struggle with darker days"
"A beautiful, moving and poignant meditation on the changing of the seasons. It gave me solace as the nights draw in ever faster and left me with a sense of hope for the spring to come. I adored reading this book and I know it will be one I read again in the years to come. I'll definitely be buying copies for friends and I'll be recommending it every chance I get. It's a beautiful book and one I won't forget!"
"As we all approach another winter, this book may provide not only solace, but an exemplar for those whose personal shadows are amplified in dark times. The lesson, 'Look outwards' is a good one"
– Peter Reason, Shiny New Books
"This was such a stunning read, full of wonderful imagery and beautiful writing [...] Horatio Clare made me realise that there is beauty to be found outside in the depths of winter, if I will seek it out"
– Secret Library Book Blog
5* – "Clare's writing is taut, sparse and charged with emotion"
– Half Man Half Book
"It is a book to be read aloud [...] There is no end to the irrepressible courage that has made this book possible. It is a triumph over affliction by a great writer and when the light returns and he knows he is coming through, my heart is full and I am cheering"
– Sue Brooks, Caught by the River