The Stubborn Light of Things: A Nature Diary


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for anyone interested in how we can re-awaken our awareness of our place in the natural world, if it’s been lost – especially for those who live in cities.

A quick summary

Melissa Harrison lost connection with the natural world in urban life, but also started to regain it there – in Streatham, London. Although this diary charts her move to rural Suffolk, she doesn’t lose sight of what is valuable in the city, for the human and more-than-human inhabitants. She also shows how connection grows and deepens – she didn’t start with expertise; she started with curiosity and everyday noticing. Her confidence, knowledge, passion, concern and hope all grew over time.


Publisher’s description:


A nature diary by award-winning novelist, nature writer and hit podcaster Melissa Harrison, following her journey from urban south London to the rural Suffolk countryside.

‘A writer of great gifts.’ Robert Macfarlane
‘The journal of a writer to compare to Thomas Hardy. Melissa Harrison is among our most celebrated nature writers.’ John Carey, The Times

A Londoner for over twenty years, moving from flat to Tube to air-conditioned office, Melissa Harrison knew what it was to be insulated from the seasons.

Adopting a dog and going on daily walks helped reconnect her with the cycle of the year and the quiet richness of nature all around her: swifts nesting in a nearby church; ivy-leaved toadflax growing out of brick walls; the first blackbird’s song; an exhilarating glimpse of a hobby over Tooting Common. Moving from scrappy city verges to ancient, rural Suffolk, where Harrison eventually relocates, this diary – compiled from her beloved Nature Notebook column in The Times – maps her joyful engagement with the natural world and demonstrates how we must first learn to see, and then act to preserve, the beauty we have on our doorsteps – no matter where we live. A perceptive and powerful call-to-arms written in mesmerising prose, The Stubborn Light of Things confirms Harrison as a central voice in British nature writing.

Additional information

Format Paperback
Weight 196 g
Dimensions 196 × 128 × 30 mm
Book Author

ISBN 9780571363513

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