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Connemara: Listening to the Wind [Anglais] [Broché]

Tim Robinson

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Connemara: Listening to the Wind + Connemara: The Last Pool of Darkness + Connemara: A Little Gaelic Kingdom
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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

Many landscape writers have striven to give their prose the characteristics of the terrain they are describing. Few have succeeded as fully as Robinson. (Robert Macfarlane Guardian)

Présentation de l'éditeur

The first volume in Tim Robinson's phenomenal Connemara Trilogy - which Robert Macfarlane has called 'One of the most remarkable non-fiction projects undertaken in English'. In its landscape, history and folklore, Connemara is a singular region: ill-defined geographically, and yet unmistakably a place apart from the rest of Ireland. Tim Robinson, who established himself as Ireland's most brilliant living non-fiction writer with the two-volume Stones of Aran, moved from Aran to Connemara nearly twenty years ago. This book is the result of his extraordinary engagement with the mountains, bogs and shorelines of the region, and with its folklore and its often terrible history: a work as beautiful and surprising as the place it attempts to describe.Chosen as a book of the year by Iain Sinclair, Robert Macfarlane and Colm Tóibín'Dazzling ... an indubitable classic' Giles Foden, Condé Nast Traveller'One of contemporary Ireland's finest literary stylists' Joseph O'Connor, GuardianA native of Yorkshire, Tim Robinson moved to the Aran Islands in 1972. His books include the celebrated two-volume Stones of Aran. Since 1984 he has lived in Roundstone, Connemara.

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Of recent years my explorations in Roundstone Bog have repeatedly led me to a place called Scailp. Lire la première page
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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Index | Quatrième de couverture
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8 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Amazing Book 3 juillet 2009
Par Anne Thompson - Publié sur
This is one of the most beautifully written prose pieces I have ever read. Robinson is up there with the greats of all the centuries. His sentences are delicate and at times almost painfully beautiful. The images and stories that he crafts leave you feeling almost breathless. I've had the privilege of visiting Connemara and I must say that this style of writing somehow fits the landscape it describes. Both leave you awed and almost empty with amazement at their beauty.

If I could give this book ten stars, I would. I found it to be a real page-turner, and I don't generally like nonfiction. Try it. You'll love the book, and you'll end up wanting to move to Connemara.
7 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 mapping Connemara in myriad ways 14 juin 2008
Par The Lucid Librarian - Publié sur
From botanical treasure troves to pre-historical geology lessons, then onto oral history, social history and biography; this book of Robinson's ranges as widely and wildly as he does around Connemara, its past, present and future. This book is packed extraordinarily with facts, historical references and anecdotes woven together very deftly. Gladly it also includes an index and its sources are well referenced. This artfulness is possibly due to the author having such a wide range of interests and understanding that he is able to bring together and focus carefully and sharply on the area he now calls 'home'.

There are wonderful diversions that provide their own intriguing association with the history of this part of Ireland. For example references to the Braun-Blanquet system of classifying plant communities and the "skirmish in the centuries-old philosophy wars between anglophone empiricism and continental metaphysics" (p233) and to Richard Berridge (an absentee landlord in Connemara) whose will included the princely sum of £46,000 in 1887 that went to the Lister Institute of Preventative Medicine (flourishing still today) and £4,000 to The National Health Society to "collect and diffuse sanitary knowledge, and all other knowledge bearing on the physical and moral welfare of all classes of society;" (p352).

For those that like a meandering tale teller, who packs his stories densely with research references and refrains from overwhelming you with their experience or perspective, these are stories to slowly but surely, work your way through. Robinson draws the reader along in a way that perhaps he also wends his way through the landscape he has settled in. In sharing his thoughts, learnings, the anecdotes of others and his passion for mapping, the writing is easy (in that the reader doesn't labour with it) and the reader is gently drawn into his learning and learnedness. In describing the effect of scientific mapping and investigation Robinson rather uncannily reflects his own approach to his storytelling of Connemara and its past:

"The patient eyes of science disentangle the chaos of phenomena, naming, classifying, hypothesizing causal connections, reconstituting it as a highly individuated organic whole, fragile but adaptive, simultaneously rivalrous and convivial. Some may feel that this intellectual process distances one from reality, or reduces it, drives the spirit out of it, frightens the cuckoo out of the wood. But I have always found it a form of awareness, an introduction to wonder." (p383)
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Connemara, Connemara, Connemara 21 janvier 2012
Par Daniel Myers - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
The first thing that struck this reader about this first book of Tim Robinson's Connemara Trilogy were the similarities of the prose style to that of Thoreau's. Indeed, before I even began to read it, the subtitle "Listening to the Wind" brought to my mind a line from Walden: "So many autumn, ay, and winter days, spent outside the town, trying to hear what was in the wind..."

Robinson covers so much ground herein regarding Connemara: geology, taxonomy, impressionistic landscapes, folklore, documented history, personal friendships and reflections etc. that it's hard to see what else it is he has to say in the other two volumes regarding this rather small patch of land in the rather small - purely in terms of acreage! - land of Ireland.

Robinson's modus scribendi, more often than not here, is to wend his way through a landscape, or a history, or an association of things until he reaches some sort of epiphany, frequently very poetically expressed, at the end of each chapter. Sometimes this method worked for me; sometimes not. At times, Robinson - figuratively and, sometimes, quite literally! - becomes, ahem, bogged down in minutiae that, frankly, do not interest me a whit, such as the taxonomic controversy he bangs on about in one chapter.

At his best, though, Robinson is capable of startling, often unsettling insights which he expresses magnificently. A fantastic - meant literally - example is the reverie that comes upon him on observing Cashel Hill reflected upside-down in its lake:

"The world becomes abstracted, its attention all on its own image. Not a detail of the scene changes, but the earth's unearthly beauty is suddenly terrifying. I have witnessed this awful transformation in the expression of Connemara very often. Perhaps the last person alive in the village by the lake, for whom hope was too far away, behind those mountains scissored out of a hard blue sky, saw it too: the landscape clenched against its reflection like the teeth of a skull." - End of chapter.

Robinson certainly has his moments! It's a jolly interesting book, this, and I enjoyed the reading of it, for the most part. But this particular reader doesn't plan to plough on through the other two books of the trilogy. I already feel I know more about this particular patch of the earth than is requisite. Other realms beckon!
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 "This topography of doubt" 14 février 2013
Par John L Murphy - Publié sur
Reading this a few years after his pair of Aran books, the density of detail and erudition applied to what appears a far larger realm than an island is not diminished by the widened perspective. This Cambridge-trained mathematician, cartographer, and artist applies his Irish-language acquisition to his adapted terrain, where's he lived in Roundstone since 1984. Around his new home, he explores its shores, the Twelve Pins, and the Maamturk mountains inland in the western portion.

He walks without textbooks, so as not to get too bogged down in detail, but surely he consults them, as this learned first installment of his trilogy--well-indexed and over four-hundred pages-- documents. He tries to "see things as they are when he's not there," as a naturalist. (26) He visits a Dead Man's Grave and finds in its name a fitting reminder of our shared fate. He enters a bog to revel in its monoculture, where biodiversity may be lacking, but where it holds intact its own simple treasure.

As in all his writings and maps, the attention to the Irish enlivens this in terrain from which the spoken language has faded along this patch of its western enclave. "Irish placenames dry out when anglicized, like twigs snapped off a tree." (81) In a "gargoyle-logic of creation," Robinson inserts our own small span, as we add years, distort, and then fall rigid ourselves in odd postures. Mortality infuses these eloquent pages, where Beckett's "skull in Connemara" (and I think since this of Martin McDonagh's plays) lingers in the fate of a Famine village of Rosroe. Graves speckle some boreens so much that in his map-making he gave up marking them. Such poetry and philosophy combined with archives and science deepens the fatal impacts of the abandoned.

This narrative is best read slowly and sparingly, for sometimes the amount of local history (he seems to enjoy telling the comings and goings of the titled and the eccentric, as often the incomers get the attention given their printed records of power or orally transmitted anecdotes of oddity that the anonymous dweller or nameless emigrant will never reclaim) or botanical precision can weary. I would have welcomed more follow-through on colonist Sir Richard Bingham's 1641 coverage of the land, the 1660s Survey & Distribution books, or Richard Martin's holdings, for instance; Robinson has published on the Martins separately, but sometimes he alludes in this volume too briefly to matters that only whet the curious appetite. And the map here, the same in the sequel (see my Feb. 2013 review of "Connemara: The Last Pool of Darkness") is far too small and sketchy. You will need Robinson's own maps of Connemara (and Aran) to fully enjoy his books.

Still, that gap shows a book that generates interest. Derryclare Wood's five thousand years in the making, the felled conifer plantation's disaster zone adjacent make for a telling symbol of Irish stewardship for a fragile ecosystem. But, a great joke about King Edward VII's visit to Recess in 1903, and a spirited encouragement on the Barony Bridge at Ballynahinch, restored after the War of Independence, sum up promise well. Young John Barlow hesitated to cross it; an army officer at the other end cheered him on. "Come on, little boy! This bridge was built for you!" (398)
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Listening to the Wind 26 avril 2014
Par Robert Grady - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Since my grandaughter and I are going to spend 2 weeks in the Connemara area North of Galway I wanted to get some information and backgroung of the area. Mr. Robinbson , a very intelligent and prose worthy gentleman, know more about this area than almost anyone.
I will not be able to visit this area without thinking about much of what he wrote about. He has two other books about this area I have on my wish list. His writing makes this whole area come alive. He is a very gifted writer.
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