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Stewart, Rory The Marches

ISBN 13: 9780224097680

The Marches

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9780224097680: The Marches
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‘This is travel writing at its best.’
Katherine Norbury, Observer
An Observer Book of the Year

His father Brian taught Rory Stewart how to walk, and walked with him on journeys from Iran to Malaysia. Now they have chosen to do their final walk together along ‘the Marches’ - the frontier that divides their two countries, Scotland and England. Brian, a ninety-year-old former colonial official and intelligence officer, arrives in Newcastle from Scotland dressed in tartan and carrying a draft of his new book You Know More Chinese Than You Think. Rory comes from his home in the Lake District, carrying a Punjabi fighting stick which he used when walking across Afghanistan.

On their six-hundred-mile, thirty-day journey - with Rory on foot, and his father ‘ambushing’ him by car – the pair relive Scottish dances, reflect on Burmese honey-bears, and on the loss of human presence in the British landscape. On mountain ridges and in housing estates they uncover a forgotten country crushed between England and Scotland: the Middleland. They cross upland valleys which once held forgotten peoples and languages – still preserved in sixth-century lullabies and sixteenth-century ballads. The surreal tragedy of Hadrian’s Wall forces them to re-evaluate their own experiences in the Iraq and Vietnam wars. The wild places of the uplands reveal abandoned monasteries, border castles, secret military test sites and newly created wetlands. They discover unsettling modern lives, lodged in an ancient land. Their odyssey develops into a history of nationhood, an anatomy of the landscape, a chronicle of contemporary Britain and an exuberant encounter between a father and a son.

And as the journey deepens, and the end approaches, Brian and Rory fight to match, step by step, modern voices, nationalisms and contemporary settlements to the natural beauty of the Marches, and a fierce absorption in tradition in their own unconventional lives.

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Review:

"I thought at first Rory's book was about the French political party, but blow me it is all about our native heath, plus his dad, and is one of the most original books we have had in 33 years of the prize" (Hunter Davies, Lakeland Book of the Year, 2017)

"Engaging, intelligent, and ultimately moving." (Stuart Kelly Scotsman)

"Suggests an open-mindedness in Stewart, a tolerance and flexibility that could make him an exceptional politician while it also continues to define him as a writer." (Andrew Motion New York Review of Books)

"[A] bewitching book... The entrancing bond between Stewart and his father brings the book alive." (Tristram Hunt Sunday Times)

"Engaging, intelligent and ultimately moving...in some ways, Rory Stewart resembles a Robert MacFarlane who has chosen geopolitics over metaphysics." (Scotland on Sunday)

"This is travel writing at its best." (Katherine Norbury Observer)

"Stewart is the nearest person I have identified in real life to Rudyard Kipling’s Kim, the all-seeing, all-knowing man-child of Empire... The heart of the book is about love... He is observant, gently mocking and he writes beautifully." (Melanie Reid The Times)

"He is a gift to literature." (Sarah Sands Evening Standard)

"[Stewart] has a roving, enquiring mind, which makes him on the page...most agreeable company... This roving, discursive book is a delight to read." (Allan Massie Literary Review)

"The Marches is a memoir full of depth and beguiling humour... His prose is captivating and I hugely admired his dedication in getting to know closely the landscape and people he serves in Parliament." (Charlotte Runice Prospect)

Book Description:

MP and travel writer Rory Stewart traverses the borderlands between England and Scotland, musing on history, memory and landscape

‘This is travel writing at its best.’
Katherine Norbury, Observer
An Observer Book of the Year

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9780099581895: The Marches: Border walks with my father

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ISBN 10: 0099581892 ISBN 13: 9780099581895
Publisher: Vintage, 2017
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