Andrew Greig

Names Writ on Water

Landmarks

By

Hamish Hamilton 387pp £20 order from our bookshop

Robert Macfarlane’s singular talent as a ‘nature writer’ is to combine intellectual rigour, thematic clarity and structure, and leaven these with experiential, personal narratives. His books are philosophical in foundation and scholarly in their scrupulous, generous acknowledgement of sources and influences – things that many writers, for reasons of ego or insecurity, prefer to obscure. The Old Ways, Macfarlane’s previous book, was characteristically both celebration and extended examination of walking and walkways, with glances at the life and works of Edward Thomas. Its narrative episodes contain some of the finest and most haunting writing of his I have read; the opening, in which he impulsively leaves his house to walk through a snowbound landscape, following the moonlit Ridgeway, has stayed with me. 

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • One woman 'travelled round the south of India with a retinue of 750 people, fourteen elephants, two racing camels f… ,
    • Stuck for a gift idea for Father's Day? Subscribe to Literary Review and get a FREE copy of 'An Impeccable Spy' –… ,
    • 'Gone. All gone. The ease, the pleasure, the effortless eloquence' From May 1995, Margaret Forster's withering rev… ,
    • RT : SO excited to tell you about this event! 😆 The amazing digital colourist, will be joining w… ,
    • 'Peters was unashamed and evidently unshamable, an impostor who wholly inhabited his fabrications and who indignant… ,
    • ‘At every waking moment Barbara Hepworth was aware of herself as a woman paving the way in a man’s world’ From the… ,
    • The entertaining Howard Jacobson is in conversation with Prof John Mullan at the Queen’s Park Book Festival on Sund… ,