Reviews

  • "Part social history, part personal meditation and wholly enchanting - as attentive to local and moving details as it is to the fact of mortality itself."

    Andrew Motion
  • "Cemetery tales, filled with fascinating details and told with a poet’s skillDelightfully morbid… Sprackland roves about history, language, biology, architecture, entomology, iconography and much else in her quest for meaning… [and] the astonishing twist…should justify your reading These Silent Mansions in its entirety."

    Anthony Quinn, Guardian
  • "Sprackland has the poet’s knack for atmosphere and a magician’s ability to conjure up other worlds. She is like a ghostly time traveller… Sprackland is particularly agile, though, at exploring the ways in which a graveyard reflects its community and how, with modern life, we are losing this sense of connection."

    Ann Treneman, The Times
  • "To opened ground and graven stone Jean Sprackland brings a poet’s scrutiny and the archivist’s insatiable curiosity. She disinters the humanity buried in the humus; and how, as fungus and algae make the lichen bloom, the living and the dead must share the several geographies of time and memory, identity and story. These Silent Mansions, like silence “beyond silence listened for”, rings remarkable and true."

    Thomas Lynch, author of The Undertaking
  • "Part memoir, part nature study and part social history, Sprackland returns in this sensitive and unusual book to the graveyards of the towns and villages where she has lived… [Sprackland] connects us to the forgotten lives of those whose names, like Ebenezer and Chastity, are now eaten by moss and lichen…[and] discovers the tales…[of] collective history."

    Frances Wilson, Mail on Sunday
  • "A deeply pleasurable blend of poetic anthropology… against the inevitable forces of erasure, this small book serves as an act of defiance."

    Claire Allfree, Evening Standard
  • "Sprackland gets her bearings from graveyards. She does not really feel that she has touch down somewhere properly unless she has established more than a nodding acquaintance with the dead…in order to discover what part of her older self might have survived."

    Michael Glover, Tablet