Monday, November 9, 2009

'A Wilder Vein' adds emotional depth to the environmental debate

An interesting review of 'A Wilder Vein' by Roger Cox in the Scotsman on Saturday here, describes it as a book, 'in which 18 writers – poets, novelists, anthropologists and natural historians – visit the uninhabited regions of our crowded little archipelago and meditate on what these places mean; and while individually the results are often sparklingly written and utterly transporting, taken together they also reinforce a point Macfarlane makes in his introduction: that "certain thoughts might be possible only in certain places, such that when we lose those places, we are losing kinds of imagination as well".'

The review concludes with a focus on Mandy Haggith's piece. In it she reveals the dilemmas of trying to live in sympathy with a 'wild' place - a woodland croft in Assynt - and some of the contradictions raised.

'Their dilemma – whether to focus on protecting their immediate environment or the environment at large – reflects in microcosm the much larger dilemmas facing humankind. And I don't think it's too fanciful to wonder if some of the answers to the environmental challenges we face in this scary new century might come, not from the ivory towers of urban universities, but from backwoods philosophers such as Haggith, more intimately in tune with the Earth and its mysterious rhythms than a city-based academic could ever be.'

It's rewarding to think that a book such as this might set people thinking about how they/we live without a sense of being pronounced to, or being fed apparently easy answers.


straight from the den said...

Bought my copy of A Wilder Vein today. I have hidden it from myself until I'm allowed to read it tonight! Been looking forward to getting it since reading Raja Shehadeh's piece in the Guardian in the summer.

Linda Cracknell said...


Sarah Hymas said...

And a great discussion arising from the book on Radio Four's Excess Baggage last Saturday