Originally published in 1939, this memoir recounts the farming life in rural Yorkshire beginning in Edwardian England through pre-WWII, covering vanisOriginally published in 1939, this memoir recounts the farming life in rural Yorkshire beginning in Edwardian England through pre-WWII, covering vanished livelihoods and forgotten vocabularies. Kitchen's memoir begins with his employment as a 13-year in 1903 to be a farmhand and addresses the rhythms of life in pre-WWI, the sociology of tenants and landowners and the separations of livelihood e.g. being a horseman, a cow man, milk man, pig man, charcoal men and numerous other stratifications. Of interest to those intrigued by fin-de-siecle life and rural England, this book is unlikely to hold the attention of those who require action or the unquiet life. This version part of the Little Toller imprint....more
Overly complex plot makes this a lesser entry in Chandler ' s Phillip Marlowe body of work. Capably handled though some paragraphs may need to be re-rOverly complex plot makes this a lesser entry in Chandler ' s Phillip Marlowe body of work. Capably handled though some paragraphs may need to be re-read to follow the thought train. Chandler bringing to bear his time in Hollywood for much of story and plot lines but never has the same level of ease as with his early Marlowe. Some of the internal passages for P.M. are strained, reach exceeding grasp and all, with its excessive consciousness. Perhaps an attempt by Chandler to display in ink the reefer madness just beneath the surface of the story....more
Charming, highly romanticized memoir of remote life in Sunderland County, Scotland during the 1920s/30s. As a young of girl of 10, the author leaves ECharming, highly romanticized memoir of remote life in Sunderland County, Scotland during the 1920s/30s. As a young of girl of 10, the author leaves England with her aunt to live a crofting life (i.e. a subsistence life) in Sunderland along the northernmost coasts of Scotland. They take with them a few pets and acquire more, wild and domestic, during the seven years there including Lora, a Common Seal, Hansel and Gretel the otters and a half-dozen or so more. There life with the animals as well as the remote life of self-sufficiency form the basis of the narrative. Although the title implies an emphasis on the namesake, the book is more a recollection and description in which the seal and others play a part. Animal kindness, simplicity of lifestyle and appreciation of the natural world are themes in what I might consider a bit of proto-YA reading of growth and loss.
Though presented as non-fiction, some of the details presented of the author's preternatural skill with animals leaves me skeptical that there is not a high degree of fictionalization at work. There is a whiff of "nature faking" writing a la E. Thomas Seton or William J. Long in this short work (168pp) that I can't ignore or perhaps it is just an imitation of Ricard Jefferies "Bevin", which the author could have likely read.
This doubt aside, the natural descriptions, particularly of setting, are nicely done and the prose expertly handled. If there is yet no mature lyricism, the writing does not draw annoying attention to itself. Its escapist appeal on its 1957 publication is understandable in a world then that was deeply worried about nuclear war, the beginning of space exploration on a shrinking, fracturing world in combination with a growing understanding and concern for environmental issues. It's an honorable member of that sub-genre of writing that, if not quite scientific enough for a Rachel Carson work, whets some of the public appetite for works like Ring of Bright Water, Born Free or the works of authors like Jean George....more
Interesting material though inexpertly handled. Essentially a long meditation on loneliness and aloneness using 52 Blue as the story and metaphor. 52Interesting material though inexpertly handled. Essentially a long meditation on loneliness and aloneness using 52 Blue as the story and metaphor. 52 Blue, for those who might be unaware is (apparently) a blue whale who sounds at such a low frequency, 52 Hertz, no other whale can hear and respond. No companion, no pod, no mate. The narrative wanders in its middle chapters because of the sparseness of information about the whale and would have been strengthened with some cetacean natural history to buttress the story. As it is, I am left with the feeling of a missed opportunity regarding the subject. Still, an arresting thought and image for certain minds....more
Capable examination of the July 1914 crisis and how it evolved from a Balkans conflict to a European war. Closely follows the chronology and diplomatiCapable examination of the July 1914 crisis and how it evolved from a Balkans conflict to a European war. Closely follows the chronology and diplomatic intrigues. Tends to agree with Clark's assessment in Sleepwalkers about causes and where fault lies. Useful assessment for those interested in pivotal history....more