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Far Away and Long Ago
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Far Away and Long Ago

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  289 ratings  ·  53 reviews
For at some period of a man's life; at all events of some lives; in some rare state of the mind, it is all at once revealed to him as by a miracle that nothing is ever blotted out.
Paperback, 248 pages
Published May 29th 2008 by BiblioLife (first published 1918)
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Average rating 3.90  · 
Rating details
 ·  289 ratings  ·  53 reviews

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This book tells the story of the author's childhood and boyhood on the Argentine pampas. His was a warm and loving family in which the children had plenty of freedom to explore the natural world around them, since they were educated at home in their early years. His love of nature began at an early age and he became a careful observer of birds and other creatures. There is an elegiac mood created as he states that many of the wonderful natural places he knew as a child were now gone forever due ...more
Ann Klefstad
Apr 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
The strangeness of the world is never-ending, particularly in the memoirs of those who have long ago left us. Hudson evokes a bird-world in South America that even he laments as lost, from his burrow in the smokey London of his exile. He knew what was happening in his homeland, the spread of efficient agriculture that doomed wetlands and their denizens. And this was over a century ago. The beauty and oddity of this memoir just absolves it of the terrible pain it causes. That seemed to have been ...more
Jun 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: argentina
This book is the memoir of the author while living in the argentinian field. I've been drawn to read this, because of the birds (Hudson loved birds and is always describing them). I also liked how everyday life is portrayed - and I loved that they ate lamb with peaches in conserve. I would really like to get to read his other books, though they are very hard to find - I got this book at a second-hand bookshop in Avda. Corrientes. There's also an illustrated version out there.
Dec 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: nature lovers
The author grew up in Argentina in the late 1800's and he describes a fantastical natural world, at least to those of us who grew up in the tame North American forests. The ostriches, the vaqueros, the cattle, the birds. As a boy he falls in love with birds and, although he studies and appreciates all of nature, the birds are his first love. Despite having no formal education, a few tutors helping him and his brothers with the basics, he has the most lyrical and moving way of writing. Very excel ...more
Carol Arnold
This autobiography of William Henry Hudson covers his early years. It was an interesting look at life in Argentina in the mid 1800's. This audio book was read by multiple readers. In this case it was rather distracting since not all were very distinct readers. Also, the book was rather rambling and back and forth in time. Hudson usually made it clear when he was changing time so it wasn't too confusing. Overall, it was interesting enough to continue through the entire book.
Apr 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Wonderful book.
I didn't rate it four stars because of a curious reticence on the author's part about his own family--in a memoir of his childhood. Although he tells us the names of neighbors, their personalities and biographies, he never tells us the names of his brothers and sisters, and doesn't even bother to mention that he has any or how many until well into the narrative, and we learn very little or nothing at all about them. The same for his parents. He scarcely mentions his father and on
Simon Hollway
Jan 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: eland, 2019
The story is slowly strangled in the undergrowth. Fascinating narrative strands, such as slaughtered sheep dragged behind horses to create firebreaks during a pampas conflagration, are immediately pelted and dissolved by ammoniac bird droppings. This book sinks beneath a never-ending parade of birds and trees. Birds, birds, birds; trees, trees, trees.
I couldn't make it past the half way mark. I will never be best friends with Bill Oddie.
Jenny Thomas
Oct 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-group
Far Away and Long Ago W H Hudson (1841 – 1922)
Hated précis at beginning of chapters! Why? Annoying. Some stories were pointless.
The son of American settlers – he wrote the book in London (died penniless in Bayswater at 80) during 6 weeks of illness, its about his childhood in what is to become Argentina. They fought for independence from 1810 to 1818 – followed by a civil war til 1861. (and conflict with Chile)
It’s a fascinating view into a lost way of life – he was a naturalist and ornithologis
JoséMaría BlancoWhite
Feb 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Written in 1918 by this Englishman who tells about his life as a boy in the Argentine Pampas. Filled with intense melancholy -but at the same time joy- that those recollections produce in his memory. Whoever reads this biographical account cannot but adore this man.
He achieves the difficult task of making us readers see nature, wildlife, and human beings with the same eyes as his young and avid ones. He talks a lot about plants and birds, and this to me is the only minus I can find, since I symp
Sep 06, 2013 rated it it was ok
Other reviewers have spoken about the joy of hearing the voice of a young man who would later become a botanist.

I enjoyed the book, which is essentially a collection of connected vignettes, reading about a boy who had an even more "feral" upbringing than my own, lying somewhere near Huck Finn territory. Only occasionally schooled, usually free to roam from sunup to sundown across Argentinian meadows and forests, coming across plants and animals that interested him, and then giving first an infor
Allan Clark
Jan 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Far Away and Long Ago is a reminiscence rather than a true autobiography. I'm about halfway through my third or fourth reading of this marvelous book—not to mention the many times I have dipped into it. It has a charm for me that never fades—the charm of a sensitivie, warm, kind-hearted personality who was in love with the natural world around him from the time he first encountered it. Hudson was shy and unhealthy as a child and noticed everything in nature with utter fascination. He became a re ...more
Feb 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read about Hudson’s work in a literary piece about ‘great forgotten literature.’ Far Away and Long Ago was the favored of the books. It is his biography of his early years on the pampas south of Buenos Aires.

The early and late nineteenth century were years of great isolation in this part of the world. Many Europeans settled in Argentina, which was then one of the two or three richest countries in the world. But those on the pampas were rich, with vast estancias; they survived with smaller, of
May 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
It's a little difficult to expand on my title for this review.

The author suffered an acute illness in later life and, during this time, his childhood memories came back to him with a clarity that is a cause of envy for those of us with the usual hotch potch of muddied memories of our best times.

He then took the opportunity to record these memories.

Mr Hudson gives an insight into a world distant both in geography and time.

Describing many different aspects of his childhood - from the vast pampas t
Oct 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There is something very special about this book, its magical descriptions of Argentina, told in a warm-hearted, simple but carefully detailed way. You feel, as you read, as if you are there. Can't reccommend highly enough.
Robbie Manson
Aug 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Charming. Quite similar to Durrell's My Family and Other Animals.
Apr 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: autobiography, travel
An absolutely beautiful memory of childhood, growing up in the Pampas of Argentina in the 19th century. Sort of a precursor to 'my Family and other Animals', as the author intersperses magical natural history (he was a noted ornithologist) with entertaining portraits of local characters. Though writing this back in 1917, it's already sad to hear him comment "I only know that the old place...where his cattle and horses grazed and the stream where they were watered was alive with herons and spoonb ...more
Sep 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I spent half of this book thinking it was an okay read: nothing special, just the odd entertaining anecdote interspersed with a lot of stuff about birds.

But, as I read on, Hudson started to delve deeper into more interesting themes - family, the nature of beauty, even life and death, all seen through the lens of his childhood in the Argentinian countryside. The more I read, the more I thought he had something interesting and insightful to say, and I'm glad I persisted.

I just wish he'd spent more
Lynette Winterton
Feb 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Very descriptive of the culture and customs of Argentina in the 1850's. Great stories of escapades and adventures, flora and fauna, critters and creatures. You can put it down for days and pick right back's a collection of his childhood experiences. I MADE myself read it, most of it was plodding, but the last 3 chapters regarding his affection for his mother, his search for understanding of truth regarding life after death and life's purpose pulled me through the rest of the book.
Jul 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, memoirs
A unique and highly personal memoir of a boy's life on the Argentine pampas in the late 1800's. Hudson was highly sensitive to and attracted by the natural environment, and went on to become a naturalist during the time of Darwin's dawning influence. I loved this unconventional book, including its loving descriptions of plants & animals, especially birds, and it's antiquated but touching language.
Mar 26, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This autobiographical collection of sketches describes Hudson's childhood in Argentina. It was written when he was ill and experienced vivid flashes of early memory. The essays contain the casual racism of the time as an Englishman looking down on the Gauchos, along with his thoughts on animism and why he is attracted to nature. It ends with his religious struggles and reading Darwin. The essays show life in Argentina around the time 1849-1855.
Nov 27, 2017 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: adventure-travel
Good reading when in Argentina, to get a feel for the way life on the pampas was at the end of the 19th century.
Jul 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Like a wonderful walk in nature with a friend
Frederic Hunter
Aug 29, 2014 rated it liked it
At the age of 15, suffering from a difficult and painful malady at his parents’ estancia on the Argentine pampas, W. H. Hudson did not think he would see 20. Instead he saw 80. LONG AGO AND FAR AWAY is a memoir he wrote of his boyhood. Hudson was a superlative naturalist whose interest in plants and animals, especially birds, started early. According to what he tells us, laid up late in life for a period of weeks, he kept having memories of his childhood. What extraordinary recall! He wrote the ...more
Răzvan Molea
I take great delight in fine thoughts finely expressed. With that being said, I have a soft spot for Hudson's literature. Or should I rather say for his accurateness in describing the workings of the mind, which baffles me. His tenderness in describing nature, his beloved childhood places and the people that he met and that meant something to him throughout his life, filled me with joy.

This book here, as well as Green Mansions, are lost treasures, which should get more recognition. Certainly a
Les Dangerfield
May 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have a faint recollection of reading this book, or a shortened version, years ago at school. My only recollection of that was the sense of peace and tranquility that his writing style conveyed and I feel the same now. As Conrad said of him 'He writes as the grass grows'. It is also an interesting insight into settler life in rural Argentina of the 1840s and 50s and has some similarities to Gerald Durrell's 'My family and other animals', being an account of the life of a growing boy who has a p ...more
Daniel Duarte
Mar 09, 2015 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tara Bush
Feb 08, 2012 rated it did not like it
I'm not sure I can actually mark this book as read... it's more like I gave up. This may be the most boring book I've ever attempted to read. I made it about half way through, waiting for something of importance to actually happen, but nothing did. The author is a pompous bigot who tells little snippets of his childhood that mostly focus on naming the tress and birds that he observed. Snooze-o-rama.
Nicholas Garcia
Oct 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Its simple, sincere writing and stirring narrative make it one of the more entertaining books I've read lately. The book is a recollection of the author's childhood in the Argentinian pampas during the late 19th century. I enjoyed learning about the author's life, especially his fascination with nature, from his perspective. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in South American history or interested in nature generally.
Michael de Percy
Sep 17, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
It took me a while to get into this book but once I started I managed to keep up the momentum. The story about the story was interesting but it is difficult to comprehend Hudson's lot until he deals with Darwinism and his own inclinations as a naturalist. Delivered as the story of one's boyhood, it is not until after finishing the book and reading the preface, one reflects and Hudson's genius comes to light.
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William Henry Hudson was an author, naturalist and ornithologist. He was born in the Partido de Quilmes in Buenos Aires Province, Argentina, where he is considered to belong to the national literature as Guillermo Enrique Hudson, the Spanish version of his name. He spent his youth studying the local flora and fauna and observing both natural and human dramas on what was then a lawless frontier, pu ...more
“Of all the people I have ever known you are the only one I don't know.” 2 likes
“the mystical faculty in me which produced those strange rushes or bursts of feeling” 1 likes
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