Alexander Averin

Sunday, 29 April 2007

A Book Review

Dear Diary,

Before I start my day, yes I know it's late, nearing eleven o' clock in fact, but it is Sunday and I do go to work on a Saturday.

I feel like blogging (getting a taste for the new site now!) and I did promise to tell you about my current reading matter, rather than just list a few favourite books at the side. I will also tell you in future blogs of any recommended titles which I come across in my travels, or hear about in the library.

I'm re-reading, with much pleasure, the book below which we are discussing at our next book group meeting in May.

I think you will like it.
This is part of a review I wrote for the library website.

Running for the Hills

by Horatio Clare

Our library's book group in Llanwrtyd occasionally has evenings on the theme of ‘What books are on our bedside table.‘ One of the books currently beside my bed has by chance been chosen by another member of our group as her main choice for us to read later in the year. Another borrower in the library who has also read it described it as the best book she has read for ages. For these reasons I would like to recommend it to you. It happens of course to also be of ‘Welsh interest’.

The title is Running for the Hills by Horatio Clare which coincidentally happens to be, like a previous choice of mine, another loving memoir written about a parent; this time the author is a son who is writing about both parents but focussing mainly on his mother.

It describes Clare’s childhood in the 1970’s as he grows up with his brother and their parents as incomers to Wales and their struggle to make a living on an isolated farm up a mountain. It is also a story about a marriage break-up and of the effect on the two children, but it is not a depressing book.

His parents are two very different people and one wonders whether their relationship would have survived even if they had not come to Wales. Clare writes movingly and honestly about his mother’s struggle, after the break-up, to carry on farming alone and there are also extracts from his mother’s journal which she kept at the time.

The book is well written, (the writing strangely enough seems to improve even more as the book goes on) and will appeal to a variety of readers, not only to people like myself who have been in a similar position and who did escape to the hills of Wales with a young family, but also to readers who have no interest in farming or the quest for the ’simple life’.

It is a serious book, not one of the more humorous ‘How I became a pig farmer in Wales’ type, of which there are probably far too many. It will appeal to locals and incomers alike in its portrayal of what life was really like for the first of the people from ‘Off’ who made a run for the hills of Wales in search of a better life.

Since I first wrote this review the book has been featured as Book of the Week on Radio 4 and was read very movingly by the author himself, Horatio Clare. I look forward to his next book.

(Horatio Clare has worked on Radio 4’s Front Row and Nightwaves and produced Radio 3's The Verb. Born in 1973, he has written for The Spectator, the New Statesman, the Guardian, and the Daily Telegraph).


Blossomcottage said...

I have made a note and I will read Running for the Hills by Horatio Clare you make it sound worth my sort of book. Thanks for your comment on the Mice Found post I do all the drawings some are old one but some I have done for this Blog site, I glad you enjoy them, I love doing them, all a bit of nonsense really but fun

Inthemud said...

Hi Cait, Thanks for giving us your review of Horatio Clare's book, I've not read it, but now feel inspired to go off and find it so I can read it for myself.

Pipany said...

Good morning, Cait. What am I doing on here when I should be getting children ready for school! Lovely to catch up on your blogs as a start to the day though. Good luck with the court case xx


I sahll ahve to look out for that one! Thanks !

Suffolkmum said...

Cait, how wonderful to read you again, I've been doing a big catch up as I didn't get to read any over the weekend. Firstly, I've just read the Horatio Clare book too! Some extracts were published in one of the Sunday papers and I thought it looked like my kind of thing. I so agreed withyour review. I scrolled down to catch up with your earlier blogs and found you had quoted one of my favourite sayings from Julian of Nrorwich. I'm not religious in a traditional sense but often read her writings, it gave me quite a jolt to see it! Thanks as always for your blessings and quotations. I really hope that the outcome of the court case is good. x

Woozle1967 said...

Thanks for sharing this Cait. It is so much better to have a "review" rather than just say "read this" - and you've whetted my appetite.xx

Eden said...

Been away feels like ages, but as usual come back to some inspiring stuff from your blog. Why is it I always like so much what you read -- have been meaning to read Horatio C for months and was just talking about this book with a good friend on Sat. night. Now really must go and get a copy. Eden.

CAMILLA said...

I have found you, was wondering where you were. You have used your surname, it threw me for a bit.
Now I can look forward to your blogs again and lovely poems. Thank you for info on Horatio Clare's book. Mine- The Book of Oxford Verse, and a book given to me recently by Henry James (1897) What Maisie Knew.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't be around Ballyheigue would it?

Exmoorjane said...

Lovely blogs Cait - but then they always were.....I love your poems, and the blessings (reminds me to do my own each night) and the book review made me, too, put it on my wishlist.....though I must get through the large wobbling pile by the bed first...
I am so glad you transported your old blogs - now I know I can dip in when I have a spare moment without them vanishing into the ether or into the nether regions of the bloggers list. Remember a very nice pub in Llanwyrtd.... wonder if it's still there....but can't of course, remember the name... jxx

JacquiMcR said...

Hi Cait, have just got here yesterday from the CL site and am catching up with all the familiar blogs.

Your book review has got me adding it to my list of books to visit.

Take care - jacqui x

CJ said...

Was I ever happy to discover most of my favourite bloggers from CL thanks to the link from Middle of Nowhere! I jumped ship at CL before it all went pear shaped (too dificult to navigate, too slow, etc, etc)and tried to concentrate on my 'real' blog and our soon to be launched website!I love your blog and look forward to working my way through any back entries! All the best ;)

WesterWitch/Headmistress said...

I shall add the book to my list of things I would like to do as opposed to the things I have to do.

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