Kerri ni Dochartaigh
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SHORTLISTED FOR THE WAINWRIGHT PRIZE FOR NATURE WRITING – HIGHLY COMMENDED
‘A special, beautiful, many-faceted book’ Amy Liptrot
‘A remarkable piece of writing . . . Luminous’ Robert Macfarlane
‘Eloquent . . . Moving’ Sinead Gleeson
Kerri ni Dochartaigh was born in Derry, on the border of the North and South of Ireland, at the very height of the Troubles. She was brought up on a council estate on the wrong side of town. But for her family, and many others, there was no right side. One parent was Catholic, the other was Protestant. In the space of one year they were forced out of two homes and when she was eleven a homemade petrol bomb was thrown through her bedroom window. Terror was in the very fabric of the city, and for families like Kerri’s, the ones who fell between the cracks of identity, it seemed there was no escape.
In Thin Places, a mixture of memoir, history and nature writing, Kerri explores how nature kept her sane and helped her heal, how violence and poverty are never more than a stone’s throw from beauty and hope, and how we are, once again, allowing our borders to become hard, and terror to creep back in. Kerri asks us to reclaim our landscape through language and study, and remember that the land we fight over is much more than lines on a map. It will always be ours but, at the same time, it never really was.
This exceptional debut, a steely but spellbinding blend of memoir, nature writing, social history and politics, is about the beauty and healing to be found in unexpected "thin" places; in shafts of light you see in the darkness, and in a love of the natural world * * The Bookseller, Editor's Choice * * A magnificent and exquisitely woven mix of memoir and nature writing. Thin Places is by turns delicate and harsh. A book that demands to be read outdoors -- MOLLY AITKEN Kerri ni Dochartaigh understands the nature of grief: that it must be handled, attended to patiently, and recognised for what it is. Offering as it does insights into grief, into place, into the deep roots of natural and political history, Thin Places is a book for our times, and a work of rare power and authenticity -- NEIL HEGARTY I'm so glad this book exists; I feel rather short of words to do it justice. Kerri's writing is so powerful, her ability to tell her story so deft, her innate understanding of the world around her such a beautiful thing -- ALICE VINCENT Piercingly honest and full of grace, Kerri ni Dochartaigh's writing attends to people and the world around us with exceptional perception and careful compassion. To read this book is a bracing, beautiful and restorative experience -- WENDY ERSKINE It seems as if everything about life is contained within the covers of this astonishing book: politics, history, nature, language and of course, love. A profound and moving work of art. This is a really special book - certainly, I've never read one quite like it -- CHRISTINE DWYER HICKEY A beautiful and harrowing book about trauma, the potential to heal and the subtle magic of the wild. Kerri ni Dochartaigh offers us a fragile kind of redemption, full of truth and solace -- KATHERINE MAY An eloquent, moving work of politics, geography and the self. Full of wisdom and deeply engaging -- SINEAD GLEESON What was Kerri ni Dochartaigh's burden as a child - to exist in "the gaps between" the Catholic and Protestant communities in Northern Ireland - has become her gift as a writer. She is sensitive to the legacies of loss and trauma and highly attuned to the gifts of the natural world and the possibilities of place. This is a special, beautiful, many-faceted book -- AMY LIPTROT A remarkable piece of writing. I don't think I've ever read a book as open-hearted as this. It resists easy pieties of nature as a healing force, but nevertheless charts a recovery which could never have been achieved without landscape, wild creatures and "thin places". It is also flocked with luminous details (moths, birds, feathers, skulls, moving water). Kerri's voice is utterly her own, rich and strange. I've folded down the corners of many pages, marking sentences and moments that glitter out at me. Wow -- ROBERT MACFARLANE
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