A love song to the land. A magical month by month observation through parted grass of the flora and fauna of a meadow.
John Lewis-Stempel is a writer and farmer. His books include the Sunday Times bestsellers The Running Hare and The Wood. He is the only person to have won the Wainwright Prize for Nature Writing twice, with Meadowland and Where Poppies Blow. In 2016 he was Magazine Columnist of the Year for his column in Country Life. He lives in Herefordshire with his wife and two children.
My book of the year. Meadowland is a seasonal journey
of discovery, a pilgrimage that nurtures the soul and gives meaning
to life; all life. Each beautifully crafted sentence provides a
stepping-stone to absorb and understand the land, with the writer's
lyrical voice acting as guide and trusty staff as well as
illuminating the mind's eye with wonderful imagery and perceptive
literary devices. -- Stuart Winter * Sunday Express *
Fascinating ... Books have been written about entire countries that contain a less interesting cast of characters than Lewis-Stempel's account of one field on the edge of Wales. Foxes, red kites and voles become as intricately shaded as characters in an HBO drama, the readers' sympathies swinging between them and their adversaries. Not every English meadow contains such a vast variety of wildlife as Lewis-Stempel's, and he's lucky to live somewhere so unspoilt, but his immense, patient powers of observation - along with a flair for the anthropomorphic - mean he is able to offer a portrait of animal life that's rare in its colour and drama.
Lewis-Stempel's eye for detail and the poetic imagery of sentences such as "Behind me the river shouts with the abandon of a football crowd" or "Someone has stirred the clouds into milk pudding" are reminiscent of the late, brilliant Roger Deakin...
There is barely a creature in Meadowland that I didn't learn at least one interesting new fact about (the occasional tendency of badgers to hold funerals for one another is a particular favourite).-- Tom Cox * Observer *
Engaging, closely-observed and beautiful ... this author's deep love of the world around him is as inspiring as it is entertaining. This wonderful book ... is most of all, a moving hymn of gratitude from a man so rooted, so full of joy that he likens his land to a cathedral and knows that: 'To stand alone in a field in England and listen to the morning chorus of the birds is to remember why life is precious'. -- Bel Mooney * Daily Mail *
[JLS] has a sharp eye, a fluent pen and that omnivorous, innocently English curiosity about wild creatures... There are lyrical moments aplenty but this is not the cloying 'regardez-moi maman' nature writing. JLS's tone is level, involved, humorous and even self-deprecating... This is a rich, interesting book, generously studded with raisins of curious information. -- Angus Clarke * The Times *
My holiday reading: [John Lewis-Stempel] knows not only all about the different kinds of life in such a place and how they all fit together, but can also write so vividly. -- Philip Pullman * The Guardian *