The Shepherd's Life: Modern Dispatches from an Ancient Landscape (Paperback)

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The Shepherd's Life is the beautifully written yet unsentimental memoir of a man who raises sheep in England's Lake District, as his family has for generations.  With a vivid sense of place and a compelling narrative, this book is a deeply enjoyable read, but it's much more than that:  The Shepherd's Life bears witness to the importance and relevance of small-scale farming not just as a means of production but as a way of life, as a source of community and cultural identity, as a way of raising a family and of living on the land.

— From The Shepherd's Life, by James Rebanks

Description


The New York Times bestseller and International Phenomenon

One of the Top Ten Books of 2015, Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times.

"It's bloody marvelous." - Helen Macdonald, New York Times bestselling author of H IS FOR HAWK

"Captivating... A book about continuity and roots and a sense of belonging in an age that's increasingly about mobility and self-invention. Hugely compelling." - Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times


Some people's lives are entirely their own creations. James Rebanks' isn't. The first son of a shepherd, who was the first son of a shepherd himself, his family have lived and worked in the Lake District of Northern England for generations, further back than recorded history. It's a part of the world known mainly for its romantic descriptions by Wordsworth and the much loved illustrated children's books of Beatrix Potter. But James' world is quite different. His way of life is ordered by the seasons and the work they demand. It hasn't changed for hundreds of years: sending the sheep to the fells in the summer and making the hay; the autumn fairs where the flocks are replenished; the grueling toil of winter when the sheep must be kept alive, and the light-headedness that comes with spring, as the lambs are born and the sheep get ready to return to the hills and valleys.

The Shepherd's Life the story of a deep-rooted attachment to place, modern dispatches from an ancient landscape that describe a way of life that is little noticed and yet has profoundly shaped the landscape over time. In evocative and lucid prose, James Rebanks takes us through a shepherd's year, offering a unique account of rural life and a fundamental connection with the land that most of us have lost. It is a story of working lives, the people around him, his childhood, his parents and grandparents, a people who exist and endure even as the culture - of the Lake District, and of farming - changes around them.

Many memoirs are of people working desperately hard to leave a place. This is the story of someone trying desperately hard to stay.

About the Author


James Rebanks runs a family-owned farm in the Lake District in northern England. A graduate of Oxford University, James works as an expert advisor to UNESCO on sustainable tourism. He uses his popular Twitter feed - @herdyshepherd1 - to share updates on the shepherding year. The Shepherd's Life is his first book.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781250060266
ISBN-10: 1250060265
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication Date: September 27th, 2016
Pages: 304
Language: English