Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: Meadowland (John Lewis-Stempel)

Lewis-Stempel, John - Meadowland


Title: Meadowland: The Private Life of an English Field
Author: John Lewis-Stempel
Genre: Non-Fiction / Nature   Pages: 293
First published: 2014
Edition: Paperback, published in 2015 by Black Swan

In exquisite prose John Lewis-Stempel records the passing seasons in an ancient meadow on his farm. His unique and intimate account of the birth, life, and death of the flora and fauna is threaded throughout with the history of the field and recalls the literature of other observers of our natural history in a remarkable piece of writing that follows the tradition of Jeffries, Mabey, and Deakin.

This is the kind of nature writing I like. It is simply observation from a farmer’s hill farm and it was a joy. I have friends who farm in Devon, whose farm is very similar to the one described in this book. It makes it very easy to visualise the setting.

We read the author’s observations in chronological order as he takes us through the months from January to December. I loved the way he talks about nature. It is full of wonder and awe without being overly flowery. He does not skim the more ugly side of nature, such as death. I realised that although I may not like reading about dead animal babies, it is part of the cycle of life and we cannot pretend it does not happen. 

I loved this easy-to-read nature diary and if you like ‘a slice of nature life’ type books, I am confident you will as well. I will be reading more from John Lewis-Stempel in the future for sure.

6 out of 7 stars

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