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In his first book since the acclaimed The Running Sky Tim Dee tells the story of four green fields. Four fields spread around the world: their grasses, their hedges, their birds, their skies, and their natural and human histories. Four real fields - walkable, mappable, man-made, mowable and knowable, but also secretive, mysterious, wild, contested and changing. Four fields - the oldest and simplest and truest measure of what a man needs in life - looked at, thought about, worked in, lived with, written. Dee's four fields, which he has known for more than twenty years, are the fen field at the bottom of his Cambridgeshire garden, a field in southern Zambia, a prairie field in Little Bighorn, Montana, USA, and a grass meadow in the exclusion zone at Chernobyl, Ukraine. Meditating on these four fields, Dee makes us look anew at where we live and how. He argues that we must attend to what we have made of the wild, to look at and think about the way we have messed things up but also to notice how we have kept going alongside nature, to listen to the conversation we have had with grass and fields. Four Fields is a profound, lyrical book by one of Britain's very best writers about nature. It is shortlisted for the 2014 Ondaatje Prize.
A beautifully simple concept: that a field can be a microcosm of the state of humanity. Better still, four diverse types of field, one in the heart of England, in Cambridgeshire, one in South-ern Zambia, one in mid-America prairie country, one a meadow within the exclusion zone at Chernobyl, Ukraine. Grass, plants and creatures may be common to all, but some thrive, whereas ‘in Chernobyl you do not grow old with twisted growth, you are born with it’. Dee’s rich writing delights as he imparts his considerable research and observations about life and the state of the world.
'Heavy with poetic resonance... [Dee] pushes the boundaries of nature writing, creating a form that is lyrical but deeply alert to ecological crisis'. -- Miriam Darlington BBC Wildlife
'First-rate evocation of the natural world merges with an elegiac note in these rich stories of the soil. ' -- Independent
['Dee's] descriptions are constantly inventive; wry and fearless... A project as expansive, and as mesmerizing, as a fenland sky.' -- Mary Crockett, Scotsman
'Dee's writing is often quietly poetic, with the spirit of Gerard Manley Hopkins hovering overhead.' -- Jon Day, Daily Telegraph
'Four Fields is an enthralling and unexpected book - or four short books - about what we have made of the natural world. The language itself is rich and loamy. There is evidence of much thought here, as well as a naturalist's profound observation. It is proof that really, there is no such thing as nature writing - Dee gives us the wide world and everything in it, including ourselves and all our works.' -- Kathleen Jamie, Guardian
Publication date: 28/08/2014
|Publication date:||28th August 2014|
|Genres:||eBook Favourites, Popular Science,|
|Categories:||Natural history, Conservation of the environment,|
Tim Dee was born in Liverpool in 1961. He has worked as a BBC radio producer for more than twenty years and divides his life between Bristol and Cambridge. His first book, The Running Sky: A Birdwatching Life, was published by Cape in 2009.More About Tim Dee