Tim Richardson

What Larks

Four Fields

By

Jonathan Cape 278pp £18.99 order from our bookshop

It’s tough being a nature writer. Stuck in the middle of nowhere, you’re openly ridiculed or else lavished with the tenderness reserved for the soft-headed, your crabby handwriting filling journal after journal with minute observations concerning the machinations of every critter within range. You’re stuck in the middle of the intellectual world, too. Not quite the thing as a scientist, you will be disdained as an ‘amateur’, your painfully won raw data potentially of use but your world-view too narrow to make your observations or conclusions truly meaningful in dissecting rooms and herbaria. Not quite the thing as a literary type, either, you will be perceived as a mere describer of plants, bugs, birds and furry things, and woefully ill-equipped for plot and character development. The banality of weevil. 

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