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"What is this life, if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare.”
Native is described as ‘a hymn of love to his native land’. It’s an apt description for a wonderful book. Native transports the reader to a place and a way of life where Patrick Laurie, although thoroughly occupied running his farm in Galloway, makes the time, to stand, to stare, and to share with us the sights, sounds, smells and richness of his way of life.
From the cry of a lonesome curlew through to the incredible ruggedness of his Galloway cattle, from the warmth of Summer sun to the life-threatening weather of deepest winter, we learn what it is like to live a truly rural life. It’s not easy. The hours are long and the remuneration is minimal, but the rewards – for those who appreciate them – are immense.
A poignant and thought-provoking read, I loved it.
Desperate to connect with his native Galloway, Patrick Laurie plunges into work on his family farm in the hills of southwest Scotland. Investing in the oldest and most traditional breeds of Galloway cattle, the Riggit Galloway, he begins to discover how cows once shaped people, places and nature in this remote and half-hidden place. This traditional breed requires different methods of care from modern farming on an industrial, totally unnatural scale.
As the cattle begin to dictate the pattern of his life, Patrick stumbles upon the passing of an ancient rural heritage. Always one of the most isolated and insular parts of the country, as the twentieth century progressed, the people of Galloway deserted the land and the moors have been transformed into commercial forest in the last thirty years. The people and the cattle have gone, and this withdrawal has shattered many centuries of tradition and custom. Much has been lost, and the new forests have driven the catastrophic decline of the much-loved curlew, a bird which features strongly in Galloway's consciousness. The links between people, cattle and wild birds become a central theme as Patrick begins to face the reality of life in a vanishing landscape.
Closing date: 30/04/2020
In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.
Native is a book for Nature lovers, it's an inspiring read, one to curl up with and just let the day drift by, while you lose yourself in Galloway in the Southwest of Scotland. Loved every single word! Full review
'In this tender, lyrical book, Patrick Laurie considers what it means to really belong to a place. Throughout, the mud, blood and sweat of the farm are brought vividly to life, and each sentence is charged with passion for its subject' -- Malachy Tallack 'Patrick Laurie is a wonderful writer. He has written a hymn of love to his native land' -- James Rebanks
Publication date: 02/04/2020
Publisher: Birlinn Ltd an imprint of Birlinn General
|Publication date:||2nd April 2020|
|Publisher:||Birlinn Ltd an imprint of Birlinn General|
|Genres:||Biography / Autobiography,|
|Categories:||The Earth: natural history general, Cultural studies, Animals & society,|
Patrick Laurie is a freelance journalist. His blog Working for Grouse is visited by over 30,000 visitors each year. As well as writing and farming, he works for Soil Association Scotland on a program which supports conservation projects on farmland. His first book, The Black Grouse (Merlin Unwin, 2012), was the first natural history book on this rare and declining species.More About Patrick Laurie