The Shepherd's Life: A Tale of the Lake District

Author(s) : James Rebanks

The Shepherd's Life: A Tale of the Lake District

Book Details

  • Publisher : Penguin Books
  • Published : September 2016
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 320
  • Category :
    Ecology
  • Catalogue No : 96437
  • ISBN 13 : 9780141979366
  • ISBN 10 : 0141979364
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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, he and his family have lived and worked in and around the Lake District for generations. Their way of life is ordered by the seasons and the work they demand, and has been for hundreds of years. A Viking would understand the work they do: sending the sheep to the fells in the summer and making the hay; the autumn fairs where the flocks are replenished; the gruelling 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 fells.

Reviews and Endorsements

"Two pages into The Shepherd's Life, I was gripped. Twenty pages in, I was amazed. By its end, I knew I'd read an extraordinary book, at once political and beautiful - a major addition to the modern British literature of landscape, that can stand alongside Ronald Blythe's classic Akenfield as a portrait of a place and its people as seen from within" - Robert Macfarlane

"A very good book" - Alan Bennett

"Affectionate, evocative, illuminating. A story of survival - of a flock, a landscape and a disappearing way of life. I love this book" - Nigel Slater, author of Toast and The Kitchen Diaries

"Bloody marvellous" - Helen Macdonald, author of H is for Hawk

"A powerful - and quietly electrifying - meditation... Page by page, he builds what amounts to a 21st-century pastoral manifesto. The book is an unsentimental education, part history of farming in the Lake District, part personal memoir. And yet it still soars... Rebanks's prose is beautifully sure-footed" - Helen Davies, Sunday Times

"A remarkable achievement... Utterly unsentimental, The Shepherd's Life is, nevertheless, profoundly moving... The human values that imbue The Shepherd's Life are, perhaps, ones that Britain, disillusioned and scandal weary, could do with being reminded of right now" - Melissa Harrison, Financial Times

"Rebanks's enthusiasm and talent for poetic writing is infectious... His words create not only a gorgeous landscape painting of the Lake District and its inhabitants, human, animal, bird and fish, but also a useful social document... What is most striking about this book is its authenticity; this is the real thing" - Carol Midgley, The Times

"A wonderfully detailed and candid account of a life that is both individual and typical of this role in rural society... told with perfect pitch, in prose that flows as easily as speech, cleaves hungrily to the particular, and shifts without strain between the workaday and the imaginative" - David Craig, Guardian

"Absorbing, often funny, and beautifully written... a testament to the importance of maintaining a connection to the land" - Observer

About the Author(s)

James Rebanks is a shepherd based in the Lake District. His first book, The Shepherd's Life, won The Lakeland Book of the Year 2015 and was shortlisted for both The Wainwright Prize and the Ondaatje Prize. Also known as the Herdwick Shepherd, his Twitter account of daily life in the Lakes has a strong international following. His family have lived and farmed in the Lake District for six hundred years.

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