The Shepherd’s Life – A Tale of the Lake District
This is a story told in seasons, generations and centuries rather than years. It speaks of tradition and timelessness, describing lives and the Lakes District landscape in terms of patterns rather than events. Despite such breadth of perspective, it is immediate and enthralling. For a man taught early that there was idleness and little of use in books, James Rebanks has produced one filled with acute observation and spare, unsentimental prose which flows beautifully. It is effortless to read.
In describing the life of a modern-day shepherd, the author writes of family, animals, community and nature in a way which speaks deeply and directly to our own search for meaning, belonging and place in a confused and confusing outside world. We must hang on to and learn from places and lives such as this, which ask profound questions of our notions of wealth, success and a life well lived. They are an antidote to the alienation of the “life behind glass” of a modern, urbanised existence. In this small place, the lightning-fast spread of modernity has been resisted, offering us more evidence against the inevitability and desirability of a globalised homogenised world.