Elizabeth-Jane Burnett

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THE GRASSLING

book | 2018

What fills my lungs is wider than breath could be. It is a place and a language torn, matted and melded; flowered and chiming with bones. That breath is that place and until I get there I will not really be breathing.

Spurred on by her father's declining health and inspired by the history he once wrote of his small Devon village, Elizabeth-Jane Burnett delves through layers of memory, language and natural history to tell a powerful story of how the land shapes us and speaks to us. 

The Grassling is a book about roots: what it means to belong when the soil beneath our feet is constantly shifting, when the people and places that nurtured us are slipping away.



Reviews

A subtle, moving celebration of place and connectedness . . . The Grassling brings the sounds, smells and sights of the countryside alive like few other books. Burnett stretches the limits of prose, infusing it with poetic intensity to create a powerful, original voice . . . Her prose is both sinuous and knotty, stretching language to capture what is often beyond words, while slowing down the process of reading, allowing us to savour them.

PD Smith, Guardian

Exquisite . . . needs to be savoured slowly, and then read again. Burnett is breaking new ground as a mixed-heritage English/Kenyan woman connecting so deeply to the historic land of her father's family in the West Country

Bernardine Evaristo

With a blend of poetry, memoir and a uniquely experimental, sensory style of nature writing, The Grassling celebrates the lusciousness of both land and language ... Ideas that might in a lesser writer have seemed whimsical are grounded by the rich layers of Burnett's prose.

TLS

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Cathryn Summerhayes
+44 (0)207 393 4281
Email Cathryn Summerhayes