Form detail:Paper over boards
Dimensions:9.2in x 6.14 x 0.9 in | 1.2 lb
Page Count:256 pages
Fairytales are one of our earliest and most vital cultural forms, and forests one of our most ancient and primal landscapes. Both evoke a similar sensation in us - we find them beautiful and magical, but also spooky, sometimes horrifying.
In this fascinating book, Maitland argues that the two forms are intimately connected: the mysterious secrets and silences, gifts and perils of the forests were both the background and the source of fairytales. Yet both forests and fairy stories are at risk and their loss deprives us of our cultural lifeblood. Maitland visits forests through the seasons, from the exquisite green of a beechwood in spring, to the muffled stillness of a snowy pine wood in winter. She camps with her son Adam, whose beautiful photographs are included in the book; she takes a barefoot walk through Epping Forest with Robert Macfarlane; she walks with a mushroom expert through an oak wood, and with a miner through the Forest of Dean. Maitland ends each chapter with a unique, imaginitive re-telling of a fairystory.
Written with Sara's wonderful clarity and conversational grace, Gossip from the Forest is a magical and unique blend of nature writing, history and imaginative fiction.
The “Gossip” of Maitland’s title is not the “tittle-tattle” of the OED definition. Rather it is “the encouraging, private, spiritual talk that we all want in times of trouble. Stories that are not idle; tales that are not trifling.” The Grimms provided the latter, however much they have been edited towards propriety, and Maitland provides a good deal of the former. She makes her chosen forests come alive. - Tom Shippey, Times Literary Supplement
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