Book Review – January 2015 – Sallie Eden

Rising Ground by Philip Marsden – Published by Granta Books 2014RisingGroundSubtitled ‘A Search For The Spirit Of Place’, like Philip’s other work, ‘Rising Ground’ is a serious and well-researched book, this time linking human responses, culture and landscape.

Drawing on childhood memories and the unexpectedly strong feelings prompted by his first sight of, and eventual move to, a Cornish farmhouse in a remote creekside location, this is part biography, part history, part geology.

Yes, Philip writes of the past, of Pliny and Ptolemy, but he also reports on everyday things he observes on his walks: thus there are references to geraniums in pots, adverts for salsa classes and burlesque.

As someone whose family has lived and farmed in the same village for over a thousand years, I can certainly understand the concept of a ‘sense of place’ and therefore I’m probably an obvious target reader, nevertheless, ‘Rising Ground’ has wider appeal…especially to those blessed with a sense of curiosity and anyone whose house move hasn’t gone according to plan. Candles and cold water anyone?

This is not a book to read quickly, it’s more of a slow burn to be reflected on and savoured.

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