Running for the Hills

Running for the Hills : A Family Story

4.06 (133 ratings by Goodreads)
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When Jenny and Robert fall in love in the late 1960s they decide to build a new future together, away from the city. They escape to an isolated sheep farm nestled on a mountainside. It has no running water but it is beautiful and rugged. Their young sons can roam wild. As their flock struggles, money runs low and rain drives in horizontally across the fields, inside the ancient house their marriage begins to unravel. Wilful and romantic, Jenny refuses to abandon her farm. She will bring her boys up single-handedly on the mountain. Together they embark on a perilous adventure. Running for the Hills is astonishing family memoir - Horatio Clare vividly recreates his mother's extraordinary way of life and his own bewitching childhood in a magical story of love and more

Product details

  • Paperback | 288 pages
  • 130 x 198 x 19mm | 198g
  • Hodder & Stoughton General Division
  • John Murray Publishers Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New ed.
  • 0719565391
  • 9780719565397
  • 397,553

About Horatio Clare

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

Review Text

Memories of family, single parenthood and sheep in the remote wilds of Wales.In the first 150 pages of her memoir, Clare describes the courtship and marriage of his willful, endearing, frustrating parents. Though Jenny and Robert were journalists in London, she insisted on buying a farm in Wales for weekend getaways and, as the months rolled by, wanted to spend more and more time there. But the arrival of the children made it clear to Robert that they simply could not afford the second property. Eventually, Jenny had to choose, and went for the sheep and the Welsh landscape over her marriage. Clare's descriptions of that landscape are evocative and simple: "In the cold the mountains look like clenched fists," he writes. Remarkably evenhanded portraits of his parents present their flaws and foibles with generosity and sensitivity; without editorializing, the author offers lengthy quotations from Jenny and Robert's letters and journals. He falters, however, when discussing his boyhood. Conversations with Jenny about the possibility that the farm is haunted are a bit too precious, as are transcribed "chats" with cuckoo birds: " 'Cuckoo,' he shouted. 'CUCKOO!' I answered. 'Cuck-coo?' he replied. . . . 'Cuckcoo,' I affirmed." Fortunately, the memoir comes back around to Jenny, who decided after a failed love affair to sell the farm. Clare renders the leave-taking beautifully. " 'Well, goodbye, little farm,' Jenny said. . . . It sounded strange and unconvincing, as though neither she nor the place really believed she was leaving."Generally uneven-at its best, this recalls Jill Ker Conway's Road from Coorain; at its worst, a school theme paper. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Review quote

'The young family has to face the hardships that small farmers and smallholders endure everywhere' The Times 'A tender, eloquent book about love, the power of the land and the price to paid for living out one's dreams' Sarah Dunant 'A joy ... heartening, raw, tender.' John Carey, Sunday Times 'Touching, funny and extremely well-written' Telegraph Enchanting ... magical ... so beautifully written that you almost hold your breath' Daily Mail 'A major talent' Marie Clare 'Beautifully written ... crammed with precious details ... It should be required reading' Guardian 'It is the prose equivalent of a collection of poems by Ted Hughes - or Wordsworth' Sunday Times 'The classic Great Escape ... strikingly told' Matthew Bell, TLS 'An assured and compelling first book ... A moving exploration of the slow triumph of adversity over optimism' Rose Tremain, The Sunday Telegraphshow more

Rating details

133 ratings
4.06 out of 5 stars
5 35% (47)
4 38% (51)
3 24% (32)
2 2% (3)
1 0% (0)
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