Field Notes From a Hidden City by Esther Woolfson

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Woolfson fills her text with poetry quotations, though her Catullus inexplicably comes out in prose...There is plenty of poetry in the beautiful descriptions of her garden and its hinterland...
-Guardian

Synopsis

Field Notes From a Hidden City is set against the background of the austere, grey and beautiful northeast Scottish city of Aberdeen. In it, Esther Woolfson examines the elements—geographic, atmospheric and environmental—which bring diverse life forms to live in close proximity in cities. Using the circumstances of her own life, house, garden and city, she writes of the animals who live among us: the birds—gulls, starlings, pigeons, sparrows and others—the rats and squirrels, the cetaceans, the spiders and the insects.

In beautiful, absorbing prose, Woolfson describes the seasons, the streets and the quiet places of her city over the course of a year, which begins with the exceptional cold and snow of 2010. Influenced by her own long experience of corvids, she considers prevailing attitudes towards the natural world, urban and non-urban wildlife, the values we place on the lives of individual species and the ways in which man and creature live together in cities.
 

About Esther Woolfson

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Esther Woolfson was brought up in Glasgow and studied Chinese at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Edinburgh University. She is the author of Corvus: A Life with Birds, which is also published by Counterpoint. She has won prizes for her nature writing and received a Scottish Arts Council Travel Grant and a Writer's Bursary.
 
Published February 11, 2014 by Counterpoint. 368 pages
Genres: Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math, History, Sports & Outdoors, Travel. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Field Notes From a Hidden City
All: 4 | Positive: 4 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Excellent
on Jan 04 2014

Interwoven with diarylike entries are longer meditations on spiders, pigeons, jackdaws, sparrows and the complexities of the slug, who shoots a “love dart” as part of its mating behavior—a phenomenon...Woolfson is an elegant, precise writer, and this transcendent memoir conveys exquisitely the vibrant world she inhabits.

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Publishers Weekly

Above average
on Oct 21 2013

Woolfson’s careful observations bring to our attention elements of the natural world often taken for granted.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by David Wheatley on Mar 15 2013

Woolfson fills her text with poetry quotations, though her Catullus inexplicably comes out in prose...There is plenty of poetry in the beautiful descriptions of her garden and its hinterland...

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Olivia Laing on Feb 02 2013

It can only be hoped that books like this play a part in making us both notice and value the lovely creatures we stand to lose, before the wild portions of our cities have been entirely swept and tidied and paved out of existence.

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