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by Ronald Blythe
Publisher:Canterbury Press imprint of Hymns Ancient & Modern Ltd
I had not read any of Ronald Blythe's books before, so I began this book without knowing what to expect. I was almost immediately captivated by his style and creativity. The chapter headings are the months of the year, and in each chapter there is a series of essays with intriguing titles. I love the way he links his observations of nature through the seasons with an easy flow of anecdotes about his friends, and quotations from authors such as Samuel Johnson, Robert Louis Stevenson and the anonymous author of The Cloud of Unknowing. On every page there is something that made me smile or think more deeply or both. I think a quotation, taken almost at random, is the best way I can illustrate his style. This paragraph is taken from the chapter 'August' from the essay 'The Dean Dies'. He writes; "This is the day when Dean Neil Collings would have bumped down the farm track, unfrocked in his Monday shorts, all prepared for our church crawl. Instead, he is looking back at me from the Obituary page. No more creaking entrances to wonders within, no more ploughmans' lunches, no more exclamations at the marvels of Suffolk handiwork as we Pevsnered our way through sacred interiors." Reading this book is like having a quiet conversation with a good friend - you don't want it to end.
Reviewer: Jackie Rowe (20/02/13)