The Smell of Summer Grass is the story of the years spent in finding and building a personal idyll, sometimes a dream, sometimes a nightmare, by writer Adam Nicolson and his wife, cook and gardener, Sarah Raven. Without knowing one end of a hay baler from the other, Adam Nicolson and Sarah Raven, fed up with London and with life, escaped with his family to a run-down farm in the Sussex Weald. Looking for Arcadia, they found a mixture of intense beauty and profound chaos. Over three years they struggled with dock leaves, spring flowers, bloody-minded sheep and neighbours before eventually arriving at some kind of equilibrium. Funny, poetic, ironic and wise, 'The Smell of Summer Grass' is based partly on the long out of print 'Perch Hill'. It traces the growing intimacy between man and his chosen place, his love affair with it and his frustrations with its intractable realities. As an attempt to live out the pastoral vision, it makes one heartfelt plea: we should never abandon our dreams.
Essentially an autobiography, but also a metaphor for modern life, Nicolson begins as he is living a miserable life in London, having left his wife and family for another woman, Sarah Raven. Desperate to swap the city for country, Perch Hill, an old, dilapidated farm, seems to offer the solution. The book describes his metamorphosis to the life of a farmer. With heartening tales of the flourishing farm, this is an inspiring account of one man’s escape from city life to an altogether calmer existence.
'Candid, observant and often very funny'
'A delightful memoir - a reminder that the very best writing starts at home'
Robert McCrum, Observer Praise for
'The Mighty Dead': 'Thrilling and unsettling ... [a] wonderfully expressive alloy of travelogue, scholarship and advocacy, which broods with heartfelt grace ... Nicolson's books always shine with the Homeric virtues of eloquence, passion, generosity, audacity and candour ... He does them proud'
Boyd Tonkin, Independent
'A beautiful study: full of insight, generosity and unaffected passion. The writing is exhilarating'
'A thrillingly energised book ... it transmits a whole worldview at once decipherable and dramatically strange ... To read Homer is to be struck by what Nicolson calls 'time-vertigo' - and this book is one that holds your hand and encourages you to peer over the edge. To read it is to have a fat pair of Homeric jump-leads attached from Nicolson's sparkling and crackling faculties to your own'
'As gripping as a thriller and as delicately constructed as a sonnet ... an astonishing tour de force that reveals Homer to be at once as ancient as papyrus and as modern as MTV ... Not only does he have an inward understanding of how Homer's poetry works, his own prose also has the sharp glitter of a poet's eye'
Publication date: 26/02/2015
Publisher: William Collins an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
|Publication date:||26th February 2015|
|Publisher:||William Collins an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers|
|Genres:||The Real World,|
|Categories:||Memoirs, The countryside, country life, Agriculture & farming,|
Adam Nicolson is the author of many books on history, travel and the environment. He is winner of the Somerset Maugham Award and the British Topography Prize and lives at Sissinghust Castle in Kent. His other books include 'Arcadia' ('Earls of Paradise' in hardback), 'Men of Honour', 'Sea Room', 'Power and Glory' and 'Seamanship' and, most recently, 'Sissinghurst'.More About Adam Nicolson