Review: Rivers of Wales by Jim Perrin
‘Nothing’s solid here; all’s sketched and coloured in shifting tones of water and light. Where a mountain might offer rigorous certainty against the confusion of existence, a river reveals us on our course, acting as a vital correlation to the wisdom of our choices. This is not, however, a political tract, but a deeply personal exposition of the physical, cultural, and historical riches that our rivers offer. Perrin is at pains to contextualise his work within a tradition of nature writing by exponents whose subject was a way of life, rather than an aspect of it.
Invoking the loss of his son, Perrin brings wretched experience to bear in a plea to have us feel what is at stake if our natural habitats are sacrificed to commercial vandalism. Along the way, we are well-served for entertainment, with ripe anecdotes, Sebald-esque digressions, and catty swipes at those who are too well-insulated to feel them. For all that this is an opinionated book, it does not seek to persuade. He recalls characters he met who lived authentically in these landscapes, describing the effect that the rhythms of nature had upon their humanity, and how this mode of being is seemingly lost to us.
There is a feeling that the author’s own lifestyle, born of the post-war consensus, has been fenced out of viability by the commercialisation of the countryside. Pained regret at this direction of travel infuses these pages as Perrin, unlashed from the rockface, heads towards the estuary with dwindling company. Rivers of Wales is published by Gwasg Carreg Gwalch and you can buy a copy here…. For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.
Read full article at Nation.Cymru