Sunday, November 23, 2008

Notes from Walnut Tree Farm

I wish I had met Roger Deakin before he died. His powers of observation and his humane sensibility continue to impress themselves on my mind more than two years after his death. So I was pleased to read in The Times that his random observations and research notes, compiled over a period of six years, have been edited and shaped into a new book by Alison Hastie and Terence Blacker. They have taken occasional sentences, "paragraphs and sometimes mini-essays" and presented them in journal format.

In his review Alexander Cockburn describes Deakin's "vigorous" natural descriptions, and the way in which he "communes - in the richest sense of the word - with the creatures of his old hedgerows, the living slime on the bit of Elizabethan moat in which he swam, his coppice wood, his unpoisoned pastures, the hornets in the attic, the badgers in their sett, the young hedgehog warmed back to health...."

New British nature writing at its very best.

Read Alexander Cockburn's review in full at Times Online.