I am indebted to Alison Menzies Publicity for a copy of Winter – An Anthology for the Changing Seasons edited by Melissa Harrison in return for an honest review. Winter – An Anthology for the Changing Seasons was published by Elliott and Thompson in conjunction with the Wildlife Trusts on 20th October 2016 and is available from all good book sellers including online here.
I was previously privileged to read Summer – An Anthology for the Changing Seasons and you can find that review here.
The boxed set of all four seasons is available here.
Winter – An Anthology for the Changing Seasons
Winter is a withdrawal: quiet and dark and cold. But in the dim light frost shimmers, stars twinkle and hearths blaze as we come together to keep out the chill. In spite of the season, life persists: visiting birds fill our skies, familiar creatures find clever ways to survive, and the world reveals winter riches to those willing to venture outdoors.
In prose and poetry spanning seven hundred years, Winter delights in the brisk pleasures and enduring beauty of the year’s turning. Featuring new writing from Patrick Barkham, Satish Kumar and Anita Sethi, extracts from the work of Robert Macfarlane, James Joyce and Kathleen Jamie, and a range of exciting new voices from across the UK, this invigorating collection evokes the joys and the consolations of this magical time of year.
My Review of Winter –
An Anthology for the Changing Seasons
I’m finding it difficult to review Winter – An Anthology for the Changing Seasons without repeating all my praise for Summer too.
Once again this anthology is an absolute delight. There really is something for everyone, regardless of whether the reader likes poetry or prose, modern or classical literature, essay or diary.
I found a warming familiarity through the inclusion of old favourites like Hardy’s The Darkling Thrush or Dickens’s Bleak House as these pieces brought back memories from my past as well as reminding me of the season of winter. However, I also found real delight in newer passages from authors I have never encountered before. Emma Kemp’s piece on her walk with her dog, Luka, for example evoked such a strong feeling of solitude and foreboding that it made goosebumps appear on my arms. The senses are indeed, so well catered for in this anthology.
Although each piece is in the anthology on merit, there were a few new to me pieces that resonated with me completely so that I felt the writer had looked into my soul and understood me. Anna Laetitia Barbauld’s letter to Mrs Beecroft summed up exactly how I feel about the winter so that I too believe I am one of those creatures that sleep all winter. I loved too, learning new aspects of nature and new words like ‘broal’ in Jen Hadfileld’s poem that embarrassingly I hadn’t encountered before. Not only does Winter – An Anthology for the Changing Seasons entertain delightfully, it educates too.
The only way to convey just how glorious this book is, is to say, just buy it. I think these anthologies are outstanding, with such rich and eclectic selections, that they are an absolute must for nature lovers everywhere.
About the Editor Melissa Harrison
Melissa Harrison is a writer and nature lover whose first novel Clay (2013) won the Portsmouth First Fiction prize, was selected for Amazon’s ‘Rising Stars’ programme and named by Ali Smith as a book of the year. Her second, At Hawthorn Time (2015), was shortlisted for the Costa Best Novel Award and chosen by the Telegraph as one of their Books of the Year; both books are as much about the natural world as they are about people. She writes the Nature Notebook in The Times and regularly speaks about conservation, literature, and the very fertile ground between the two.