On the red hill by Mike Parker
Book length 416
You know that feeling when you open a new book, read a few paragraphs and instantly know that not only are you going to really enjoy it but that this may well become one of your favourite books of all time and you deliberately slow down the pace of your reading in order to savour every word? It’s all too rare an experience. And that's what happened to me when I opened Mike Parker’s ‘On The Red Hill’. This is an exquisitely crafted, hypnotic, kaleidoscope of delights. Partly autobiography, part biography, part history, part meditation on nature, home, country, and the seasons, On The Red Hill enthralled me from the first page to the last.
Here's the blurb
A multi-layered memoir of love, acceptance, finding home and the redemptive power of nature.
In early 2006, Mike Parker and his partner Peredur were witnesses at the first civil partnership ceremony in the small Welsh town of Machynlleth. The celebrants were their friends Reg and George, who had moved to deepest rural Wales in 1972, not long after the decriminalisation of homosexuality. When Reg and George died within a few weeks of each other in 2011, Mike and Peredur discovered that they had been left their home: a whitewashed ‘house from the children’s stories’, buried deep within the hills. They had also been left a lifetime’s collection of diaries, photographs, letters and books, all revealing an extraordinary history.
On the Red Hill is the story of Rhiw Goch, ‘the Red Hill’, and its inhabitants, but also the story of a remarkable rural community and a legacy that extends far beyond bricks and mortar. On The Red Hill celebrates the turn of the year’s wheel, of ever-changing landscapes, and of the family to be found in the unlikeliest of places. Taking the four seasons, the four elements and these four lives as his structure, Mike Parker creates a lyrical but clear-eyed exploration of the natural world, the challenges of accepting one’s one’s place in it, and what it can mean to find home.
This wonderful novel deserves a place in everyone's shelf.