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Thread: Robert Macfarlane.

  1. #1
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    Default Robert Macfarlane.

    Anyone read anything of his? The new one, Underland, looks decent:

    Underland: A Deep Time Journey

    From the best-selling, award-winning author of Landmarks and The Old Ways, a haunting voyage into the planet’s past and future.

    Hailed as "the great nature writer of this generation" (Wall Street Journal), Robert Macfarlane is the celebrated author of books about the intersections of the human and the natural realms. In Underland, he delivers his masterpiece: an epic exploration of the Earth’s underworlds as they exist in myth, literature, memory, and the land itself.

    In this highly anticipated sequel to his international bestseller The Old Ways, Macfarlane takes us on an extraordinary journey into our relationship with darkness, burial, and what lies beneath the surface of both place and mind. Traveling through “deep time”—the dizzying expanses of geologic time that stretch away from the present—he moves from the birth of the universe to a post-human future, from the prehistoric art of Norwegian sea caves to the blue depths of the Greenland ice cap, from Bronze Age funeral chambers to the catacomb labyrinth below Paris, and from the underground fungal networks through which trees communicate to a deep-sunk “hiding place” where nuclear waste will be stored for 100,000 years to come. “Woven through Macfarlane’s own travels are the unforgettable stories of descents into the underland made across history by explorers, artists, cavers, divers, mourners, dreamers, and murderers, all of whom have been drawn for different reasons to seek what Cormac McCarthy calls “the awful darkness within the world.”

    Global in its geography and written with great lyricism and power, Underland speaks powerfully to our present moment. Taking a deep-time view of our planet, Macfarlane here asks a vital and unsettling question: “Are we being good ancestors to the future Earth?” Underland marks a new turn in Macfarlane’s long-term mapping of the relations of landscape and the human heart. From its remarkable opening pages to its deeply moving conclusion, it is a journey into wonder, loss, fear, and hope. At once ancient and urgent, this is a book that will change the way you see the world.

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    I want him locked up. I despise him. Worst man in England. Hate hate hate

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    What don't you like about him?

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    Twee. Smug. Vacuous. Oxbridge. Well connected. Complacent. Lazy. A mediocrity with friends in high places, in other words, an exemplar of everything rotten about England. We should burn his books, strip him naked and whip him with stinging nettles.

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    Which book of his did you read and what made it lazy and complacent?

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    It's just doing something to write a book about it. Like travelling round Ireland with a fridge. These books don't need to be In the world. It's disgusting careerism. Just journalism. Offensive. The writing is appalling, barely literate and what do you get out of it. A few facts out of Wikipedia. Something about oh I like hawthorn bushes they're fab

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    Quote Originally Posted by luka View Post
    It's just doing something to write a book about it. Like travelling round Ireland with a fridge. These books don't need to be In the world. It's disgusting careerism. Just journalism. Offensive. The writing is appalling, barely literate and what do you get out of it. A few facts out of Wikipedia. Something about oh I like hawthorn bushes they're fab
    You don't buy his environmental concerns then?

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    He's a bit like Jamie oliver

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    Just pulled up some interview he did with Waterstones and I see what the two of you mean now. He's a Ben Fogle-type.


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    Quote Originally Posted by luka View Post
    We should burn his books, strip him naked and whip him with stinging nettles.
    I bet he knows a fascinating archaic dialect word for this practice that's only still used by three octogenarians in the Hebrides.

    And lol, yes you went there with the Ireland/fridge dig. Could tell I would see that in this thread as soon as I saw the title.
    Doin' the Lambeth Warp New: DISSENSUS - THE NOVEL - PM me your email address and I'll add you

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    Richard Powers mentioned him in a recent interview and I was intrigued and expected him to be some craggy explorer, but he seems more like a Blue Peter or Countryfile presenter. Disappointing.

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    I don't hate him as viscerally as Luka, but the complaints ring true. I find him alright when he's doing overviews of dead writers and philosophers, a bit irritating when he reels off stacks of prose about fairly standard walking or climbing trips, and utterly infuriating when he goes somewhere with some interesting cultural history but basically ignores the actual local people and spends his time bigging up some oxbridge poet / sculptor / philosopher mate of his who moved to the area a few years ago to work on their book.

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  19. #14
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    Balanced criticism:

    https://www.lrb.co.uk/v30/n05/kathle...nraptured-male

    When a bright, healthy and highly educated young man jumps on the sleeper train and heads this way, with the declared intention of seeking ‘wild places’, my first reaction is to groan. It brings out in me a horrible mix of class, gender and ethnic tension. What’s that coming over the hill? A white, middle-class Englishman! A Lone Enraptured Male! From Cambridge! Here to boldly go, ‘discovering’, then quelling our harsh and lovely and sometimes difficult land with his civilised lyrical words. When he compounds this by declaring that ‘to reach a wild place was, for me, to step outside human history,’ I’m not just groaning but banging my head on the table.

    Is this fair? Well, no, of course not. The ‘outside human history’ bit was just an opening gambit – or a brave admission – and he will graciously recant in due course. But there is a lot of boldly going.

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  21. #15
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    Don't know him at all but he gets mentioned in this article I was just reading

    https://www.theguardian.com/books/20...ary-dictionary

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