The Wild Life is John Lewis-Stempel's account of twelve months eating only food shot, caught or foraged from the fields, hedges, and brooks of his forty-acre farm. Nothing from a shop and nothing raised from agriculture. Could it even be done?
We witness the season-by-season drama as the author survives on Nature's larder, trains Edith, a reluctant gundog, and conjures new recipes. And, above all, we see him get closer to Nature. Because, after all, you're never closer to Nature than when you're trying to kill it or pick it.
Lyrical, observant and mordantly funny, The Wild Life is an extraordinary celebration of our natural heritage, and a testament to the importance of getting back to one's roots - spiritually and practically.
This is a great book: tough and funny, metaphysical and earthy, passionate and honest. Most of all, honest: not just in the sense of 'candid', but honest also in that it reveals the sheer bloody awkwardness, and the sheer awkward bloodiness, of trying to live even semi-wild these days. What might seem like a gimmick turns out to be a way of discovering a great deal about that complicated thing we call 'land'. There's also some beautiful writing about place
Beautifully written. The closest thing you can get to poetry in prose
A fascinating account of each month as [John Lewis Stempel] tracks, kills and gathers what he needs to stay alive... But this is more than just a rundown of all the perfectly edible stuff out there that we tend to overlook in our everyday, supermarket-dominated lives. The Wild Life is also a meditation on survival and our connection to the land... A timely and compelling book
Tough, honest, funny, poetic and informative, this is an initiatory and spiritual journey. A life lesson for us all
A large slice of nostalgia served up in an amusing and informative narrative
The author of The Private Life of an English Field looks for ‘restorative reads’ after long, chilly days working his land. From a period Parisian thriller to nature-led poetry, here’s what's been on his bedside table in 2019.
Woodston hop farm is where nature writer John Lewis-Stempel's grandfather was farm manager, and his mother and her sisters grew up. It's a typical English farm, and now John is writing its biography, from the beginning of time. Read on for an exclusive excerpt from the manuscript.
The Running Hare follows 'farm boy turned writer' John Lewis-Stempel's efforts to transform a chemically-coshed field into a haven for England’s vanishing wildlife. Here, John explains what inspired him to undertake this endeavour…