The Shepherd's Life by James Rebanks

The Shepherd's Life

By James Rebanks

  • Release Date: 2015-04-02
  • Genre: Sociology
Score: 4.5
4.5
From 30 Ratings
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Description

From James Rebanks, the Herdwick Shepherd, comes The Shepherd's Life, a story of the Lake District and its people which could redefine the literature of rural life

Some people's lives are entirely their own creations. James Rebanks' isn't. The first son of a shepherd, who was the first son of a shepherd himself, he and his family have lived and worked in and around the Lake District for generations. Their way of life is ordered by the seasons and the work they demand, and has been for hundreds of years. A Viking would understand the work they do: sending the sheep to the fells in the summer and making the hay; the autumn fairs where the flocks are replenished; the gruelling toil of winter when the sheep must be kept alive, and the light-headedness that comes with spring, as the lambs are born and the sheep get ready to return to the fells.

These modern dispatches from an ancient landscape tell the story of a deep-rooted attachment to place, describing a way of life that is little noticed and yet has profoundly shaped this landscape. In evocative and lucid prose, James Rebanks takes us through a shepherd's year, offering a unique account of rural life and a fundamental connection with the land that most of us have lost. It is a story of working lives, the people around him, his childhood, his parents and grandparents, a people who exist and endure even as the world changes around them. Many stories are of people working desperately hard to leave a place. This is the story of someone trying desperately hard to stay.

James Rebanks is the Herdwick Shepherd, whose account of shepherding has a strong following on Twitter (@herdyshepherd1). His family has farmed in the same area for more than six hundred years.

Reviews

  • A wonderful look at at life in the Lake District

    5
    By M'lud23
    I heard James being interviewed, and decided to buy the book. I wasn't disappointed, it is a look at one families life struggles running a sheep farm in the Lake District. It is funny, in parts, but also doesn't pull any punches at the harder/sadder parts. A great read.
  • Wistful but progressive

    4
    By Hong Kong Bully
    A great book that reminds you that family, community and the landscape still have a huge part to play in life. This is an honest account of farming in the Lake District, the reality of muck and death is laid bare but then the tranquil moments of spring and summer clear the air. Read it and feel yourself immersed into a dying art that most of us barely acknowledge exists.
  • Well written and engaging

    4
    By re66
    I set out to skim a bit to get a feel for the book, but ended up reading about 90 pages! It is simply written, but all the better for it. Not pretension here, just plain old fashioned telling of real life. A fascinating insight into a world unknown to most of us that has somehow survived. Could be the best book of spring.

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