Pub Walks in Underhill Country, By Nat Segnit


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The Independent Culture

Narrated by a nerdy know-all rambler, this clever and comic first novel takes the form of 15 walks, in places from the hero's Herefordshire home to the Himalayan foothills and the icy wastes of Antarctica.

Pedantic Pooter-ish cuckold he may be, but Graham Underhill also does duty as a finely-tuned satirical vehicle. Like a 4x4 driver let loose in a wildflower meadow, Segnit cuts a swathe through the solemnity of British nature writing.

Into Graham's oddly eloquent notes on the rocks, flowers and fables of his stamping-grounds intrudes the strange tale of a second marriage to a volcanic Bengali beauty. As it blooms on terrain between The Archers and Nabokov, this debut reveals a talent worth tracking, wherever it strides next.