Tuesday, 2 February 2010
The Magic Apple Tree - A Country year by Susan Hill
This is a lovely stroll through a country year, written by novelist Susan Hill. She has (this is back in the early 80s) just moved to a village in Oxfordshire and this is her journal of a year there. She follows the seasons with a very keen eye for observation, noticing changes in the wildlife, describing village customs and rituals, drawing affectionate portraits of her fellow villagers, outlining the year in the garden and kitchen, including sharing recipes. It's a very vivid book, though in some parts it starts to feel a bit bogged down with garden details that seem however not quite useful enough to put to practical use. However this is a small complaint and anyone who loves the English countryside (and it is a very English book!) will enjoy reading this account. It is also worth pondering how much of the seasonal life will last in the form that Hill has described, as our climate changes (for a poem on this theme, why not pop over to Bolts of Silk here) and rural life changes too.