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Next to Nature: A Lifetime in the English Countryside

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I cannot fault the quality of the writing, but the endless references to the Bible, sermons and church life generally, although they may form a huge part of Blythe's life today, have very little to do with the dramatic change we have seen in the countryside, even since Akenfield. He is our tribal storyteller, plugged into a common stream of inquisitive conversation that joins us as a species -- RICHARD MABEY One of the great prose stylists on the twentieth century . It is a selection of Blythe’s regular columns for the Church Times, covering many years and arranged by month. To become a subscriber to Slightly Foxed: The Real Reader’s Quarterly Magazine, please visit our subscriptions page. These times are so worrying with such terrible suffering and poverty,we pray and hope for better times but this book is a wonderful read.

he lives with a deep, authentic sense of wonder * TLS * Some of the most beautiful and precise prose in modern English . All the charm, wonder, eccentricity and vigour of country life is here in these pages, and told with such engaging directness, detail and colour . Slightly Foxed brings back forgotten voices through its Slightly Foxed and Plain Foxed Editions, a series of beautifully produced little pocket hardback reissues of classic memoirs, all of them absorbing and highly individual.

His work, which won countless awards, includes Akenfield (a Penguin 20th-Century Classic and a feature film), Private Words , Field Work , Outsiders: A Book of Garden Friends and numerous other titles.

Poignantly, he turned 100 in November 2022 and died just two months later, so this book and my careful reading of it through the year are both tributes to his long and faithful life, much of it lived in an old farmhouse in Suffolk. Beginning with the arrival of snow on New Year's Day and ending with Christmas carols sung in the village church, Next to Nature invites us to witness a simple life richly lived. There is, for example, the quotation from "Wuthering Heights":: "Hearing a climbing rose scratch against the window like Catherine Earnshaw's escape-me-never hand" - all very clever and cultured, but such endless quotations become very annoying, destroying the flow of the narrative.There are some lovely passages and overall Ronald Blythe is an immense figure in his field but this is best reserved for those who share his Christian ways as first and foremost this is a book about his day to day religious thoughts. Beginning with the arrival of snow on New Year’s Day and ending with Christmas carols sung in the village church, Next to Nature invites us to witness a simple life richly lived.

The structure is perfect, compiling Blythe's columns from the Church Times by date, but not by year, so that we read through the circular time of the natural and ecclesiastical year, without altogether knowing where we are in a linear time that seems far less significant out in this little patch of the old rural England, where any self-respecting village needs something to hang dreadful stories on; Borley Rectory was just down the road, and "This was a Mabey walk to rival his walk with me to Wormingford Mere where, although I don't like to boast, we have a dragon. Mrs Woolf, wife of the manager, is a very celebrated author and, in her own way, more important than Galsworthy. In these troubled times it is good to read about the joys of nature and tied in with the Anglican faith Ronald Blythe will be sadly missed by his readers since his passing , he contributed much in his writing living a simple down to earth life and appreciating nature. It is accepted by you that Daunt Books has no control over additional charges in relation to customs clearance.

a modern Hazlitt -- MARK COCKER The finest rural historian of our times * Country Life * It would be difficult to find . Slightly Foxed introduces its readers to books that are no longer new and fashionable but have lasting appeal.

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