Ground Work by Tim Dee

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Combining scholarship, history and observation, this is a memorable exploration of place that celebrates the particular geographies we forge in both natural and human-made landscapes.
-Guardian

Synopsis

We are living in the anthropocene – an epoch where everything is being determined by the ruinous activities of just one soft-skinned, warm-blooded, short-lived, pedestrian species. How best to live in the ruins that we have made?

This anthology of commissioned work tries to answer this as it explores new and enduring cultural landscapes, here and abroad, in a celebration of local distinctiveness that includes new work from some of our finest writers. We have memories of childhood homes from Adam Thorpe, Marina Warner and Sean O’Brien; we journey with John Burnside to the wayside shrines of the Arizona desert and to the wastes of the Canadian Arctic with Tim Ingold; we go from Tessa Hadley’s hymn to her London garden to caving in the Mendips with Sean Borodale to shell-collecting on a Suffolk beach with Julia Blackburn.

Helen Macdonald, in her remarkable piece on growing up in a rented house in a 50-acre walled estate in Camberley, reflects on our failed stewardship of the planet: ‘I take stock,’ she says, ‘During this sixth extinction, we who may not have time to do anything else must write now what we can, to take stock.’ This is an important, necessary book.

 

About Tim Dee

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Tim Dee is a BBC radio producer making upwards of thirty programmes a year. His first book, The Running Sky, was published by Cape in 2009 and described his first five birdwatching decades. His latest book, Four Fields, described more deeply his ideas of the pastoral. He collaborated with the poet Simon Armitage on the anthology The Poetry of Birds.
 
Published May 15, 2018 by Jonathan Cape. 288 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Nature & Wildlife, Travel, Literature & Fiction, Science & Math. Fiction
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Guardian

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Reviewed by PD Smith on Jun 15 2018

Combining scholarship, history and observation, this is a memorable exploration of place that celebrates the particular geographies we forge in both natural and human-made landscapes.

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