An extraordinary account of searching for the wildness left in our world – spanning continents and geological eras, skies and oceans, animals and birds, and even the planets and stars.
With dizzying acuity and insight, Roberts paints a portrait of a life and its landscapes, creating precious connections with wild creatures and places, from swans in the Cambrian Mountains to wolves in the Pacific Northwest. By walking at dawn and dusk, in the two lights of awakening and deepening, through the stripped, windswept hills of Wales, and the jungles and savannahs of Africa, he tries to navigate from a soul-stripping sense of loss towards hope in the future.
In the presence of wild creatures, he finds a way back to life.
James Roberts is a writer and artist who lives in the hills of the Welsh Border country. His essays and poems have been published widely and his artwork has featured in several exhibitions, books and theatre productions. Two Lights is his first book of non-fiction.
"Evocatively illustrated and elegantly written."
– Country Life
"A beautiful, vivid work [...] [His] writing is lyrical, empathetic and keenly observed – there is joy as well as sorrow in his words and a reminder to savour the beauty that remains in this world."
– Western Daily Mail
"A book about what it means to be fully alive in a time of endings: personal, planetary. Deeply moving and rich in surprising perspectives on wild places and our relationship to them."
– Tanya Shadrick, author of The Cure for Sleep
"Two Lights operates at an epic scale, switching back and forth between the realms of the microscope and the telescope. An opening sequence which describes the stupendous enormity of a new day dawning across Eurasia verges on science fiction, and yet these massive themes are anchored by continual references to the tiny; the golden plover at the heart of a turning galaxy. So instead of spinning recklessly off into the distant cosmos, Two Lights is rooted in tangibles – simultaneously radical and earthy; superlative and sensible."
– Patrick Laurie, author of Native: Life in a Vanishing Landscape
"A beautifully written, ultimately hopeful, journey through all that we stand to lose on this ever-more-challenged Earth."
– Sharon Blackie, author of If Women Rose Rooted
"Deeply personal yet always outward looking, James Roberts delights in the world he discovers about him. Yet he also trembles, because he understands like winter light, that world is diminished [...] and diminishing [...] Two Lights reveals why all of us should be writers."
– Robert Minhinnick, poet and author of Diary of the Last Man