A Place In My Country : In Search Of A Rural Dream
Chasing memories of the losses of his brother and father, the author, a young newspaper director, and his Australian wife visit the Cotswolds. On a whim they buy a cottage and Ian resigns. They slowly get to know Norman, their inscrutable and apparently terrifying neighbour; Geoff, the ebullient landlord of their eclectic local - last bastion against the encroaching gastropub - and Tom, an ex-gamekeeper, who lets Ian see something of a hidden rural culture. The delightful aspects of village life and an ever-changing landscape is evocatively captured; but it is from working with Norman on his small chaotic farm that they learn about the loss of the countryside to industrial farming and of no-longer affordable housing to the dreaded 'white settlers'. And it is shadows of the past and a seemingly segregated social world around them that begin to cast doubts on whether this is the place for them. This is a gentle lesson in taking time to confront our losses, memories and prejudices to discover a revitalised life in our own country.
- Paperback | 320 pages
- 129.54 x 193.04 x 27.94mm | 249.47g
- 01 May 2008
- Orion Publishing Co
- Phoenix (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd )
- London, United Kingdom
"[Walthew's] beautifully written book is an elegy for an England that is dying" -- Max Davidson DAILY TELEGRAPH "Avoiding the usual bland elegy for the rustic and redemptive, his book is a valuable memoir, both personal and social, a meditation on belonging in one of many Englands." OBSERVER "a hard-edged and moving account of life in rural Britain today" SUNDAY TIMES "Compelling and often deeply moving...Walthew has a genuine gift for bringing both people and places to life and marshals his runaway real life narratives with a novelist's skill." Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall "I read A Place in My Country with absolute unalloyed delight. A glorious book." -- Jeremy Irons "he finds a farming heartbeat that is proud and defiant, defended by a cast of characters that outshine The Archers. A revelation of a book" -- Tim Butcher, author Blood River "affecting and inspiring memoir...required reading for anyone who claims to know or love this country" FINANCIAL TIMES "Funny, touching and ultimately very moving, this is a beautiful, unsentimental account of a personal loss that is reflected in the rapidly changing texture of life in rural England." -- Clover Stroud SUNDAY TELEGRAPH "a riveting read" COUNTRY LIFE "The book is a fascinating snapshot. All of life is here - birth, death, struggles with illness, hard work, lots of laughter. It will make you smile gently to yourself, laugh out loud, shed a quiet tear and feel angry at the changes happening in our countryside." NFU'S COUNTRYSIDE MAGAZINE "This is a great book, if you like to have your misconceptions about our land thoroughly challenged." BBC COUNTRYFILE MAGAZINE "Well written and well constructed, this is an enjoyable, funny, often poignant book, and one that will resonate with many New Zealanders." CHRISTCHURCH PRESS
About Ian Walthew
Ian Walthew left school aged eighteen and spent six months walking across Spain, living as a tramp and following in the footsteps of the Cotswold writer Laurie Lee who wrote about his pre-civil war journey in As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning. Ian eventually fell into the newspaper industry and ended his media career as worldwide Marketing Director on the executive board of the Paris-based newspaper The International Herald Tribune. After nearly a decade living and working abroad in Amsterdam, Brussels and Paris and travelling the world he was thirty-four when he unexpectedly resigned and moved with his Australian wife Hannah to the Cotswolds.