October 10, 2014

Running for the Hills: Growing up on my Mother's Sheep Farm in Wales by Horatio Clare

This is a gorgeously written biography. Before he was born, Horatio Clare's parents bought a sheep farm in Wales as sort of a hobby farm/retreat from their jobs as journalists in London. His mother fell in love with the farm, but his father didn't. Eventually she and their two sons stayed at the farm, at the cost of her marriage.

The struggles were tremendous - the house was a wreck, she was an impractical and horribly messy but very outgoing and popular farmer, and there was never enough money. But the descriptions of the natural beauty of the countryside are amazing, Dylan Thomas-style, and the sheep, even to a non-animal-lover like myself, are appealing, sometimes pathetic, sometimes hilarious characters all by themselves, bringing to mind James Herriot's tales, set in a similar landscape.

The author skilfully sharpens the focus on the dynamics between his parents, and on the picture of his father, mirroring a child's growing awareness of what's really going on, and whose fault it might be (both, in this case.)

I looked forward to this book every night and was sad when it ended. I hope he has written some more.

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