Our directory of things of interest

University Directory

THE JANUARY MAN: A Year of Walking in Britain

THE JANUARY MAN: A Year of Walking in Britain
06 Mar
2018
by Christopher Somerville  •  Black Swan Publishing  •  £9.99 (paperback)

At first, it seems Somerville’s book is an ordinary walking guide. With 12 walks (one for each month of the year) it revels in landscapes and wildlife. However, with a cast of otherworldly characters, it becomes clear this book is truly about people. There are the Hoyles farmers, who with the latest glittering tech and machines, try to harvest the same amount that their fathers could without. There’s Deryck, possibly the last person to fish for salmon in the Severn estuary with an old-fashioned putcher basket. There’s Slipper, a lone figure digging in the Norfolk mudflats. For every character Somerville describes, there’s a Dickensian level of detail that could only have been gathered in person. It’s enchanting to know that there are people in Britain that might reply ‘I’m just finishing this fag, and then I’m going to dig for some old lugworms,’ if asked nicely enough.

As well as these 12 routes, there is a longer hike going on in the background. Snippets come through of the author’s relationship with his father. As a child, Somerville’s father is barely on the horizon. He’s faraway and mysterious, the kind of parent who when asked, replies ‘I work in an office’.

Come the August walk, Somerville arrives at an honest, adult friendship with his parent, who finally divulges his job (appropriately, over a pint during a walk). When Somerville describes the full nature of his father’s job and role in World War II, his writing becomes uncharacteristically straight and sombre, without embellishment. A powerful moment in a thoughtful book.

Click here to purchase The January Man: A Year of Walking in Britain by Christopher Somerville

Subscribe and Save!

geo line break v3

Free eBooks - Geographical Newsletter

Sign up for our weekly newsletter today and get a FREE eBook collection!

geo line break v3

University of Winchester

geo line break v3

EDUCATION PARTNERS

Aberystwyth University University of Greenwich The University of Derby

TRAVEL PARTNERS

Ponant

Silversea

Travel the Unknown

NEVER MISS A STORY - Follow Geographical on Social

Want to stay up to date with breaking Geographical stories? Join the thousands following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and stay informed about the world.

More articles in REVIEWS...

Films

A brutal, hard-hitting coming-of-age tale that doesn’t hold its punches

Books

by Dan Richards • Canongate • £19.99 (paperback)

Books

by Jeremy Purseglove • Profile Books • £14.99 (hardback/eBook)

Books

by Peter Hessler • Profile Books • £25 (hardback/eBook)

Books

by Thomas Lockley and Geoffrey Girard • Little, Brown • £20 (hardback/eBook)

Books

by Robert Macfarlane • Hamish Hamilton • £20 (hardback/eBook)

Exhibitions

An exhibition at the V&A brings together innovations from across…

Books

Dead in the Water edited by Bruce Shoemakers and William…

Films

A brutally realistic film about a cruel and pointless confrontation

Books

by Mike Berners-Lee • Cambridge University Press • £9.99 (paperback)

Films

In our attempt to control the natural world, humans have…

Books

by Sudipta Sen • Yale University Press • £20 (hardback)

Books

by Jerry Brotton • Reaktion Books • £9.99 (paperback)

Books

by Colin Everard • IB Tauris • £30 (hardback)

Books

by Pete Brown • Particular Books • £16.99 (hardback)

Books

by Paul Dobraszczyk • Reaktion Books • £18 (hardback)

Books

by Parag Khanna • Weidenfeld & Nicolson • £20 (hardback)

Films

It makes you angry - extremely. It makes you sad…

Books

by Rory O’Grady • The Conrad Press • £18.99 (hardback)