Book review: The Old Ways by Robert Macfarlane

The Old Ways: A Journey On Foot by Robert Macfarlane

18005201The Old Ways is a more philosophical consideration of walking than previous books I’ve read by Macfarlane. I loved the lyrical prose and got so wrapped up in his descriptions I spent weeks reading this book, savouring the images. However, it lost me on two points:

  • This book has a very similar feel to Roger Deakin’s Wildwood but, like that book, this seems overlong to me. Once the story has travelled to epic foreign paths it feels uncomfortable and somewhat dull to return to England for so many pages. Perhaps I’d feel different if England was my home?
  • In the penultimate chapter he makes what I feel is a ridiculous assertion that someone who loves unconditionally actively asks to be hurt and betrayed. This is so out of step with the rest of the book and angered me to such an extent, I skipped that whole chapter and my overall view of the book was changed completely.

In summary, a mainly lovely book but sadly flawed.

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