Immersive and exquisite; evocative and powerful, Common Ground is a unique evocation of how, over the course of one year, Rob Cowen came to discover a forgotten realm and its inhabitants.
This was not some distant jungle or craggy peak, but half a square mile of wood, meadow, hedge and river on the edge of a northern town, to which he'd moved to after seven years of living in London. An old map given as a Christmas present revealed this little patch of green to be just out of his door and beyond the last housing estate.
This was the beginning of a total absorption in this seam of land and the animals within it. Through daily and often nightly pilgrimages, voices began to rise from the fields, woods and old railway line. And over the course of that year, the stories and histories of this place and its occupants began to mirror and illuminate events happening in Rob's own life: birth, death, fatherhood.
Common Ground offers nothing less than a new way of writing and reading about nature and our experiences within it. Here, the perspectives of this edge-land's inhabitants are set before us in kaleidoscopic detail: a fox; tawny owl; hare; badger; butterfly; swift; mayfly; roe deer; nettles; people across the ages. Through the lives of all of these - and the passage of Cowen's year - we are offered a layered, intimate and startling portrait of a single piece of common ground. For it is a microcosm of our world at large: beautiful, connected, terrifying, growing closer to the edge every day.
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ROB COWEN is an award-winning journalist who currently writes two newspaper columns: one on woodland, 'Tales from the trees' for the Independent and one on the outdoors, 'Get out more' for the Telegraph. The Guardian cited him as 'one of the UK's most exciting nature writers' and he has previously been granted the Roger Deakin Award by the Society of Authors for his co-authored 'how to' guide, Skimming Stones and Other Ways of Being in the Wild. Rob regularly appears on TV and radio to talk nature and our relationship with it. His BBC Radio 3 documentary 'The Ospreys of Loch Garten' was broadcast in 2013 and he recently advised on and featured in the film 'Project Wild Thing', about nature deficit disorder. Rob also delivers speeches and workshops on nature and landscape for a wide range of organisations including The National Trust and the British Army, and at festivals and literary events.Review:
"One of the most original books of 2015." -- Melissa Harrison * Books of the Year, The Times * "Bold and beautiful." -- Robert Macfarlane * New Statesman * "Cracking... Vividly and movingly described... Cowen writes very well." -- Alan Bennett * London Review of Books * "Absolutely mesmerising, utterly beautiful, utterly engrossing - it takes a lot for a book to give me goosebumps but this one did." -- Joanne Harris * Simon Mayo Drivetime BBC Radio 2 * "[A] multi-faceted, touched-by-genius exploration of a stretch of Harrogate wasteland." -- John Lewis-Stempel * Sunday Express, Books of the Year * "Marks out Cowen as a new writer who is both entertaining and significant... Cowen's descriptive writing is visceral and gripping... and his attention to colour is particularly striking." -- Richard Benson * Independent * "Magical... Deeply original... a detailed nature study [and] a moving memoir... I became both intrigued and enchanted by this hybrid approach." -- Sara Maitland * Countryfile magazine, Book of the Month * "Highly poetic... like an archaeologist, Cowen unearths histories, natural life and decayed infrastructure in a small area bordering the River Nidd... Above all, Common Ground is about the transformative power of this unnoticed piece of land, if one can only stand and stare for long enough'" -- Serena Tarling * Financial Times *
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Book Description Hutchinson, 2015. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P11009195455X