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Posted: Thursday 4th February 2016 by Book-Reviews

Common Ground

Common Ground by Rob Cowen, Hutchinson, 2015. This is certainly a beautifully written book. Rob Cowen is a journalist who moved from London to Yorkshire and found solace in a piece of waste or ‘edge’ land. This ‘edge land’ of his is scruffy, tangled and very much a no-man’s land, but Cowen finds much wildlife there to entertain and emotionally ensnare him. I particularly enjoyed the chapter in which he writes as if he were a roebuck being hunted. The way he sees, hears (and smells) as a deer is indeed mesmerising. In another chapter he enthrals about swifts, their magical reappearance with us each May and their sudden and saddening departure only three months later. These birds clearly make a deep impression on Cowen and he beautifully describes his experience of finding hundreds of them feeding over an old sewage works. Yes, I know it doesn’t sound romantic but he has this ability to make us understand the links that bind us to the landscape around us, a link we all need to re-find as we become ever more distant from the wild world around us. This country can boast a long lineage of superb nature writers. Rob Cowen seems destined to continue this increasingly relevant and important genre. Book review by Nick Brown



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