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Nature Cure

3.84  ·  Rating Details ·  274 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
Richard Mabey's descent into clinical depression was so annihilating that he could neither work nor play, nor sustain relationships with family or friends. He was drinking too much — and, worst of all, had lost all pleasure in the outside world. This remarkable book charts his gradual return to joyfulness.

Richard Mabey had lived his whole life in the Chilterns. As a boy,
Hardcover, 244 pages
Published March 22nd 2005 by Chatto and Windus (first published 2005)
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Mar 04, 2008 Abailart rated it really liked it
Not immediately, but slowly, the book settled in and helped me find a gentler rhythm. From tentative strolls in the park to the remote hills and wind which blew my blues away, this book helped me too find new delight in a world turned grey for too long.
Juliet Wilson
Nov 04, 2014 Juliet Wilson rated it it was amazing
I recently started leading a series of birdwatching walks for City of Edinburgh Council's Outlook Project, which works with adults with mental health problems. I felt that Richard Mabey's Nature Cure would be a great book to read alongside these walks, dealing as it does with the author's recovery from depression and his reaquaintance with the natural world.

When Mabey became depressed, he was already a well-known nature writer and the main argument in his book is that getting out into nature in
Mar 05, 2016 Dantanian rated it it was amazing
A book which certainly helped me with my depressions, and Mr Mabey was kind enough to write back to me a couple of times, which was splendid of him!
Read for Literature and Environment.
Reading Mabey's NATURE CURE in parallel to Macdonald's H IS FOR HAWK provided two interesting perspectives for the ways in which people, specifically writers, in hard times turn to nature and the ways in which they associate with it. I'm not sure if I will use this as a primary text (I'm yet to read Mark Cocker's CROW'S COUNTRY) but I definitely will use it in some way in my essay.
Eva Whiteley
I have to confess that the main reason for why I selected this book to read is that someone close to me is suffering from the same acute illness as the author. By reading the journey that Richard Mabey had taken through ‘Nature Cure’ I had hoped to gain a better understanding of how people feel whilst they are under the depilating spell of anxiety and depression. Maybe I would find some answers to how suffers can help themselves to get back to some sort of normality. As this was a personal journ ...more
Matthew Fox
Apr 01, 2016 Matthew Fox rated it it was amazing
"Believers in steady-state ecosystems and 'the integrity of species' have begun a myth that the aliens [in this case, Spanish bluebells] will 'hybridise our English bluebells out of existence' - a familiar line of argument to anyone who lives in an inner city. Just what it might mean in the case of plants, and whether such an exotic route to extinction is even possible in the real world, is not at all clear. Our two oak species, for instance, English and sessile, have been cross-breeding freely ...more
Alex Klaushofer
Mar 07, 2012 Alex Klaushofer rated it really liked it
I love this book, and have returned to it several times since reading it a few years ago, especially because the problem that starts it is counter-intuitive - that stability and rootedness in place can engender depression.
Mark Newton
Mar 21, 2012 Mark Newton rated it it was ok
Surprised, as I thought I'd like this more, given I've liked Mabey's other works. This just seemed a tad too self-indulgent at times and went off on a few too many tangents.
Oct 11, 2012 Colleen rated it liked it
Can nature heal a damaged spirit? Mabey's story suggests that it can. But what a long, wordy journey it was.
Jan 25, 2008 Michael rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Michael by: Ruth
Richard Mabey is an extraordinary nature writer with an ability to interest the non specialist and the specialist alike. Haven been given this book by a friend to read, I thought it not too promising, the writers own depression of a deep and profound kind and the nature of the Norfolk Suffolk Borderlands, a pretty but unspectacular part of the world.

With the prejudice of a native Norfolk Dumpling I thought Mabey a "foreigner" from the faraway Chilterns was bound to get it all wrong. How wrong I
May 18, 2013 Susan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Susan by: Cornflower Books
Shelves: non-fiction
British nature writer, Richard Mabey, moved to a new home while recovering from an immobilizing depression. As he explores East Anglia and regains his emotional equilibrium, he shares the details of his new landscape and interprets and meditates on the natural world, science, Thoreau, the English poet John Clare, other writers, and his own experiences.

"To wish to contain and know that wild, proliferating edge is to wish to stop nature in its tracks, to put it into a cultural reserve. But it's an
Colin Milligan
Jun 26, 2009 Colin Milligan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Richard Mabey is an important nature writer and he is on top form here. Written as he recovered form a period of depression it chronicles the changing seasons and natural rhythms of his adopted corner of Norfolk.
Much of the book concentrates on the landscape but Mabey is at his best when he writes about the animals, plants birds and insects of the broads. His writing on swifts and martens in particular is beautiful, demonstrating his almost sporitual link to his subject.

Mabey draws inspiration f
Mar 13, 2016 Harriet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really interesting read that was not only searingly honest, but moved beyond the question of the individual's relationship with the natural world, to consider much bigger questions of evolution, history, landscape and politics. Thought-provoking throughout, Richard Mabey presents a sensitive, sharply observed account of his discovery of a new landscape in the Norfolk Brecklands.
David Seligman
Jan 05, 2015 David Seligman rated it it was amazing
Naturalist Richard Mabey's personal record of his recovery from a depressive breakdown through his involvement with nature and is gradual re-aquaintance with the immense beauty of the landscape and its wild animals. a particularly poignant book for me as it is nature that has rescued me
so many times from the dark pits of depression
Daphne Pleace
Jul 13, 2014 Daphne Pleace rated it it was amazing
Anything by Richard Mabey is worth reading, from his early but never out of print Food for Free, but this book, about his personal and professional breakdown and subsequent recovery, via the natural world, is a deeply moving read. For more ideas, check out
Jun 01, 2014 Anne rated it really liked it
Naturalist & writer recovers from breakdown, leaves his family home in Chilterns and starts again in the Fens. Connecting with the natural world around him, he rediscovers his joy and curiosity. Evocative descriptions eg about swifts returning for the summer.
Dec 17, 2008 Ruth rated it it was amazing
Wow, I left this book with Michael (look him up on my friends list) and have only just read his review. I am impressed - what more can I say!

Personally I love the way Mabey handles his depression in this book - we could learn a heck of a lot from him - he handles it with dignity and gives it the dignity it deserves.

As you know I am a fan of Thomas Moore and his book Dark Nights of the Soul which I reviewed on here says to do exactly the same thing as Mabey did with his depression. So many peopl
Jonathan Gill
Muddled & meandering like a slow moving backwater stream, though not without flashes of light like a kingfisher flitting for a fish.
Not as satisying as his other books I have read.
May 27, 2009 Niki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although on the surface a memoir of a recovery from depression, this book is so much more: an extended meditation on man's relationship with nature, a history of a certain part of East Anglia, an examination of how landscape and humans interact and a detailed observation of a passing year. It covers history, geography, philosophy, literature, natural history and autobiography. The difficulty would be guessing where to find it in the bookshop.

This sounds as if it could be too disparate to fit tog
Chiefdonkey Bradey
Calming, pure - like gazing at a still lake, under a pale sky, full of swifts falling from the sun -
Sarah Boon
Dec 23, 2014 Sarah Boon rated it really liked it
Shelves: nature
Like many British nature writers, can be hard to follow the geography if you're not from the UK. But he covers enough universal themes, tied to his strong sense of place, that I'm reading it again. Immediately after finishing it the first time through.
Feb 06, 2014 Gill rated it liked it
very well written but essy to get bogged down in detail
Cindy Kilpatrick
May 15, 2012 Cindy Kilpatrick rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult-nonfiction
Honest, inspiring writing. Life and nature carefully observed and eloquently presented.

p. 37 "...our imaginative affinities with the natural world are a crucial ecological bond, as essential to us as our material needs for air and water and photosynthesizing plants"

p. 45 "A marsh harrier lifted up fro a reed-stand and drifted to a dead tree, an effortless, oriental slide, a shifting of air not body."

p. 152 "Plants are part of what makes a locality, differentiates it, makes an amorphous site into
David Sinck
Oct 24, 2014 David Sinck rated it it was amazing
For me, the perfect book. Do I love the poetry of John Clare? Check. Have I suffered from depression? Check. Mabey's depression was alleviated using the nature that caused his illness. This book is so lyrical, poetic and honest that it proves that there is no one way out of depression. This is Mabey's way out though, and he describes is in such beautiful prose that the fact that is was not mine is not an impediment but a reason to read on. Beautiful prose and our greatest nature writer's best an ...more
May 02, 2016 Kmorgenstern rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book a lot. Richard Mabey is a fine nature writer and I love his musing, reflective, sensitive style, the way he takes note of all the little details in the landscape, in his surroundings, the way he creates meaning and significance from the seemingly haphazard signs that nature throws on his path. Thus, although most of the book takes note of all these little details 'out there' it is a highly introspective and personal account of his healing journey.
Alan Fricker
Aug 02, 2014 Alan Fricker rated it liked it
Shelves: library, shelf-help
Not read any Mabey before but have been reading other things that relate. I found is patchy and prone to rather too large tangents
Jun 11, 2015 Lynn added it
I got about a third of the way in, wandered off and never could make myself start reading again. I think I expected the author to gently and gradually lead us through his process of healing via nature, but instead it felt like, "Hey, I got really depressed and then I got better, and now let's talk about some birds."
Apr 23, 2013 Ruthiella rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, 2013
Bits and pieces were lovely, but as a whole I found it a meandering and unfocussed memoir. Is it about recovering from depression, ecological history, living green? It is all these and none of them. It doesn't help that I am mostly unfamiliar with the flora and fauna of which Mabey waxes.
Jan 12, 2016 Rich rated it really liked it
It may be a short book in length, but it's a dense read full of amazing insight and reflection. A lovely read.
Sep 03, 2013 John rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Beautifully written in parts and I enjoyed the use of literary quotations, especially John Clare. But this is rambling and self indulgent and just escaped my "abandoned" shelf.
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Richard Mabey is one of England's greatest nature writers. He is author of some thirty books including Nature Cure which was shortlisted for the Whitbread, Ondaatje and Ackerley Awards.
A regular commentator on the radio and in the national press, he is also a Director of the arts and conservation charity Common Ground and Vice-President of the Open Spaces Society. He lives in Norfolk.
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“Their [cats] effortless passing between the wild and domestic worlds suggests the kind of grace we need as a species to move between nature and culture.” 13 likes
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