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To The River: A Journey Beneath the Surface (Anglais) Broché – 5 avril 2012

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

To The River is a gentle, wise and riddling book. Its prose, like the river it describes, flows intricately, unpredictably and often beautifully, carrying the fascinated reader onwards. --Robert Macfarlane

Nature Writing is the new Rock 'n' Roll. --The Times

In this richly descriptive book, Laing succeeds superbly in delineating our often fraught, but nevertheless enduring relationship with water. --Sunday Times

Beautifully written ... A great read that will make you want to head to the Sussex countryside. --Woman

A missive filled with erudite observations of the land and water in the heady in-breath of summer . . . its beauty and conclusions find a critical hold in both academic and emotive axes. --Skinny

A refreshing, and inspiring, real-life story ... Relive Laing's journey and you'll be inspired to get out into nature more often. --Psychologies

This is Laing's first book and, without wanting to sound too gushing her writing at its most sublime reminds me of Richard Mabey's nature prose and the poetry of Alice Oswald. Like these two, and John Clare before them, Laing seems to lack a layer of skin, rendering her susceptible to the smallest vibrations of the natural world as well as to the frailties of the human psyche. --Times

A magical book . . . her dreamy prose evokes a modern Alice, an hallucinatory tale told with one hand trailing in cool green water, while she wishes out folklore and science, history and biography . . . There is real delight in this debut. By turns lyrical, melancholic and exultant, To the River just makes you want to follow Olivia Laing all the way to the sea. --Philip Hoare, Sunday Telegraph

Arrestingly beautiful . . . This is an uplifting book, which not only develops into a work of considerable richness, but as the river reaches the open sea, expresses its message of hope with increasing lyricism and uncluttered simplicity. --Evening Standard

A gentle, wise, observant book, both sparkling and mysterious. In fluid, meditative prose . . . Laing describes not just what she sees but the parallel narratives of her inner life. . . Laing's writing is a joy. . . [she] has a gift for conjuring the loveliest of the countryside and the creatures that inhabit it, and in her hands, the changing land and riverscapes are imbued with wonders and filled with stories. --Metro

It's hard not to warm to Laing as a guide . . . The writing, at its best, is wonderfully allusive and precise . . . The book's subject and structure fuse pleasingly, weaving and meandering, changing pace and tone, pooling into biographical, mythical or historical backwaters before picking up the thread of Laing's riparian journey again.

...a beguiling fusion of biography, history, nature writing and memoir. --Sunday Express Magazine

[It is] Laing's lyrical description of nature that makes the book shine. --Financial Times --Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.

Présentation de l'éditeur

To the River is the story of the Ouse, the Sussex river in which Virginia Woolf drowned in 1941. One midsummer week over sixty years later, Olivia Laing walked Woolf's river from source to sea. The result is a passionate investigation into how history resides in a landscape - and how ghosts never quite leave the places they love. Along the way, Laing explores the roles rivers play in human lives, tracing their intricate flow through literature and mythology alike. To the River excavates all sorts of stories from the Ouse's marshy banks, from the brutal Barons' War of the thirteenth century to the 'Dinosaur Hunters', the nineteenth-century amateur naturalists who first cracked the fossil code. Central among these ghosts is, of course, Virginia Woolf herself: her life, her writing and her watery death. Woolf is the most constant companion on Laing's journey, and To the River can be read in part as a biography of this extraordinary English writer, refracted back through the river she loved. But other writers float through these pages too - among them Iris Murdoch, Shakespeare, Homer and Kenneth Grahame, author of the riverside classic The Wind in the Willows. The result is a wonderfully discursive read - which interweaves biography, history, nature writing and memoir, driven by Laing's deep understanding of science and cultural history. It's a beautiful, lyrical work that marks the arrival of a major new writer. --Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 11 commentaires
8 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Wonderful Book! 25 septembre 2012
Par Ms. Parky - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
Watch this author -- she's great, and I hope she publishes more, soon. "To the River" is beautifully written, enriched by the author's clear passion for, and interest in, the relationships between outer and inner landscapes, history, and culture. It was hard to believe this is her first book, or that she is so young (by my standards, anyway). Her past life with its periods of intentional withdrawal from "normal" society and extensive time spent observing the natural world has paid her big dividends.

Laing's book brought to life quite vividly a part of the world I've never seen. As a fellow hydrophiliac, nature observer, and walker, I sometimes felt I was there with her as she described her journey down the Ouse. Ms. Laing is welcome to walk a river here in Alaska with me any time . . .
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Lovely book, brilliant writer 11 mars 2013
Par michael reid hunter - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Olivia Laing has written a stunning reflection on the Ouse, and actually on all rivers. Her prose undulates along with the changing watercourse, prodding out regional histories as she wends her way along the riverbank. Past and present mingle and merge; you share the author's surprise at being jolted from her daydreams by occasional hikers and fishermen. A lovely book that reinforces our connections with the chronology of our chosen place.
This book is pure delight.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
More Leonard than Virginia... 1 juin 2014
Par Gabriella West - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle
I had high hopes for "To the River," but reading it was a strange experience. I felt that Olivia Laing's travelogue and meditation on the Sussex landscape was too amorphous for my taste. And because I am a Virginia Woolf fan, I particularly wanted to see how Laing would fold Virginia in to the book. In a strange way, I felt she understood and liked Leonard Woolf better. She "channels" Leonard more clearly than Virginia: his fits of frustration at himself and others, his dark pessimism.

Perhaps I thought that there would be more of a personal reflection here on what drove the author to take this journey. Instead, I felt the book got overladen with details about wild plants, to an almost ridiculous degree. I was amused to read in the author bio at the end that Laing earned a degree in medicinal plants and practiced as an herbalist! The fact that she left such details out was rather annoying. I'd rather know who a person is, with all their flaws and quirks, especially as there are such grim (but vague) reflections about the past dotted throughout the book, and about humanity. There *are* flashes of brilliance. In a passage I highlighted, Laing writes, "I wonder if this pervasive human dislike of virulent species, the pests and opportunists, is a kind of projection, if the Himalayan balsam and mink act as a dark mirror in which we catch ourselves: man the destroyer, man the weed."

I sensed a lot of deep personal unhappiness that Laing never fully put into words. It seems that in her next book, "The Trip to Echo Spring," she did voice a lot of her own story, and some readers took her to task for this. I think the place to have written about herself was this book. Otherwise, to my mind, the landscape and the river can't tell the whole story. But the writing's visual and beautiful, if a little laden with dialect terms that stop the flow of the narrative.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Walking the river flow 9 avril 2014
Par Lady Fancifull - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
Just as some people have perfect pitch, which they can then learn to tune even more finely, and some have eyes which are attuned to see ever finer gradations of tone, colour and shade, and can then further train and refine this gift, some, I believe, resonate with a precision and refinement towards words, language itself, and are capable of conceptualising and describing the world new-minted, fresh, present.

Such a one is Olivia Laing, as this marvellous book effortlessly demonstrates. When I say ‘effortlessly’ I don’t mean that its construction necessarily came trippingly and fully formed for the writer – maybe it did, I don’t know – but that the reader has no sense of affect being striven for, no sense of ‘my, what beautiful writing in terms of showy flashness in description. It isn’t that I read with a sense of ‘what a beautiful description of a sunset’ – more, I read without effort, slowly, presently, observantly. Sentence followed sentence, and both the parts and the whole just WERE. This is authentic writing, and from first to last I just had the sense, which might often come with music which is balanced, and somehow winds the listener more deeply into itself, that ‘this is the moment; and this; and this’

Laing has written a walking journey the length of the River Ouse, which effortlessly weaves the long history of the planet, of geological time and evolution, with recorded historical fact, with the industry of place, with social history – and with the short lives of individuals, and how they connect to place. She renders all fascination, and the powerful presence of her writing had me reading with a kind of breathlessness, heart and lungs almost afraid to move on, so much did I want to ingest and inhabit each step of the journey, each sentence of the book.

Presiding over all, for Laing, and moving through the feel of the book, is Virginia Woolf, who, as we know, on a day in 1941 walked out into the Ouse with a pocket full of stones. Woolf was a woman perhaps too finely calibrated for the world, sharing with some other writers with an exquisite sensitivity to the natural world, a feeling too attuned to unsheathed nerve endings, unmyelinated. But what such writers can do is perhaps to waken and unwrap those of us who are too tightly sheathed AGAINST perception.

Laing solidly walks the journey, feet well on the ground, noticing, noticing.

I could have taken virtually any and every sentence from her book to illustrate the harmony, perception, reflection of her writing. I did start underlining, but quickly abandoned, as the book itself needs underlining

“The path spilled on down a long lion-coloured meadow into a valley lined with ashes. There the river ran in riffles over the gravel beds that the sea trout need to breed. I crossed it at Hammerhill Bridge, running milky in the sun, and climbed east again into Hammerhill Copse.The land had lain opento the morning and now it seemed to close up like a clam. There was a woman’s coat hanging over the gate to the wood, the chain padlocked about it like a belt. Who drops a coat in a wood? The label had been cut out, and the pink satin lining was stippled by mould”

Reading this book, I feel invited, constantly by the writer, to both inhabit the presence of the time and place of her journey, and, in an echo of Robert Frost’s poem, stay aware of the other paths and possibilities that might have been taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other,
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Walking tour through literary England 9 septembre 2013
Par Jerry C. Haggin - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Well written and lots of interesting insights on a variety of subjects from literary connections - Virginia Woolf and Kenneth Graham - to science and ecology.
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