Thin Paths, By Julia Blackburn
Boyd Tonkin is Literary Editor at The Independent. An award-winning journalist, he was formerly Social Policy Editor of the New Statesman and has broadcast extensively for BBC arts and current affairs programmes. He has judged the Booker Prize, the Whitbread biography award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the David Cohen Prize for a lifetime's achievement in literature.
Saturday 07 July 2012
Julia Blackburn's travel books bring an artist's touch to non-fiction.
In 1999, she found – thanks to her Dutch husband's hiking – an old house in a remote hillside village in Liguria, north Italy: "a mixture of north Wales and the west coast of Majorca". In a patchwork of fine-grained nature writing, conversations and rapturous rambles, Thin Paths recounts the couple's embedding amid this ancient landscape and ageing people. As a "time of illness" brings sadness, this beautiful book morphs into a meditation on mortality; on "how incomprehensible it is that someone lives and then dies".
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