Imprint: Windmill Books
Length: 416 Pages
'A moving, multilayered memoir… extraordinary, ambitious... its scope is immense. A book that is deep in riches.' Simon Callow, Guardian
‘A marvellous book... an uplifting tale of tranquillity sought and found in the nearest Britain gets to paradise.’ Simon Jenkins
‘There are worlds on worlds within this lyrical and profoundly cultured book. In an age of toxic artifice, this is the most necessary medicine: the tenderness of reality and the living, elemental, world.’ Jay Griffiths
A multi-layered memoir of love, acceptance, finding home and the redemptive power of nature.
In early 2006, Mike Parker and his partner Peredur were witnesses at the first civil partnership ceremony in the small Welsh town of Machynlleth. The celebrants were their friends Reg and George, who had moved to deepest rural Wales in 1972, not long after the decriminalisation of homosexuality. When Reg and George died within a few weeks of each other in 2011, Mike and Peredur discovered that they had been left their home: a whitewashed ‘house from the children’s stories’, buried deep within the hills. They had also been left a lifetime’s collection of diaries, photographs, letters and books, all revealing an extraordinary history.
On the Red Hill is the story of Rhiw Goch, ‘the Red Hill’, and its inhabitants, but also the story of a remarkable rural community and a legacy that extends far beyond bricks and mortar. On The Red Hill celebrates the turn of the year’s wheel, of ever-changing landscapes, and of the family to be found in the unlikeliest of places. Taking the four seasons, the four elements and these four lives as his structure, Mike Parker creates a lyrical but clear-eyed exploration of the natural world, the challenges of accepting one’s place in it, and what it can mean to find home.
‘A delightful book about beauty, joy, love and home... to be celebrated and read.’ Sara Maitland
‘A great queer rural triumph of a book – wonderfully passionate, funny and insightful. It overflows with love.’ Tom Bullough
Imprint: Windmill Books
Length: 416 Pages
"On the Red Hill is an extraordinary book: brave and ground-breaking. It is far more than a queer and Welsh Howards End. Gossipy, inquisitive, confessional, lyrical, elegiac and camp-ly witty by turns, Parker offers us an unexpected and important meditation on change and on belonging, presenting four different gay lives associated with a single house. He shows us what it is that makes these lives matter."
"A marvellous book. It is an uplifting tale of tranquillity sought and found in the nearest Britain gets to paradise."
"Intense, fascinating account of queer lives in rural Wales over almost five decades ... holds a mirror up to the often hidden gay lives of the past century ... The result, in prose as swooping as the birds that teem about the house, is an important study of everyday gay life before and after decriminalisation. It is also (for Parker is nothing if not ambitious) an intimate account of the stunning natural beauty of this part of Wales, and its proud history ... By turns euphoric and melancholy, he matches his emotions to the seasons ... It is through this unusual book, a lovely hybrid of memoir, panegyric and queer history, that Parker too ... seems at last to find his own noddfa - sanctuary - and with it a sense of belonging."
"Structurally innovative, linguistically precise, and emotionally enervating, On the Red Hill is a praise-poem to adventure, belonging, the power of nature and, above all, to the resilience of human beings and the love between them. Parker's great strength and passion is in illuminating certain hidden strata of these islands, in the unearthing and re-telling of stories silenced by the forces of political history; here, he applies those talents to his own biography, and to some of those blessed enough to share it. He has produced a beautiful, immersive and - in these testing times - vital and necessary book."
"Ostensibly set in one house in rural Wales, there are worlds on worlds within this lyrical and profoundly cultured book. In an age of toxic artifice, this is the most necessary medicine: the tenderness of reality and the living, elemental, world."