Reviews

  • A powerful - and quietly electrifying - meditation... Page by page, he builds what amounts to a 21st-century pastoral manifesto. The book is an unsentimental education, part history of farming in the Lake District, part personal memoir. And yet it still soars... Rebanks's prose is beautifully sure-footed

    Sunday Times
  • A remarkable achievement... Utterly unsentimental, <i>The Shepherd's Life</i> is, nevertheless, profoundly moving... The human values that imbue <i>The Shepherd's Life</i> are, perhaps, ones that Britain, disillusioned and scandal weary, could do with being reminded of right now

    Financial Times
  • Rebanks's enthusiasm and talent for poetic writing is infectious... [His] words create not only a gorgeous landscape painting of the Lake District and its inhabitants, human, animal, bird and fish, but also a useful social document... What is most striking about this book is its authenticity; this is the real thing

    The Times
  • A wonderfully detailed and candid account of a life that is both individual and typical of this role in rural society... told with perfect pitch, in prose that flows as easily as speech, cleaves hungrily to the particular, and shifts without strain between the workaday and the imaginative

    Guardian
  • Absorbing, often funny, and beautifully written... a testament to the importance of maintaining a connection to the land

    Observer
  • Captivating... A book about continuity and roots and a sense of belonging in an age that's increasingly about mobility and self-invention. Hugely compelling

    New York Times
  • Exceptional... Rebanks's way with words is akin to that of that of an expert shearer with the clippers - swift, deft, skilled - and the resulting prose is lean, vivid, tough and handsome. I loved his book. It is one to restore faith in writing and the business of publishing - a story not like any other, told from the inside by someone whose passion for his subject lights up almost every sentence

    Literary Review
  • An unforgettable survivor's book that raises important questions, not least about education... one of the most truthful depictions of contemporary rural life that I have read

    Independent
  • More than a tribute to a rare and doughty tribe. If hills could speak, this is surely a tale the fells would tell

    Telegraph
  • An enlightening, exquisitely written account... I was beguiled by this book, an eloquent love-letter to a cherished way of life

    Daily Mail
  • May well do for sheep what Helen Macdonald did for hawks

    Guardian
  • Punchy, well-read and occasionally lyrical... a glorious book, alive with the author's voice, which is strong and individual, as befits a man who makes a living in this ancient but precarious way. Most striking is its honesty

    Herald Scotland
  • Rebanks offers a fascinating account of his life in farming that is in equal parts memoir, social commentary and procedural. Even for the most committed urbanite, it's a brilliant read

    Observer
  • James Rebanks's unsentimental, sharply detailed memoir about his life as a shepherd gripped me from the first page

    Wall Street Journal
  • Truly extraordinary... written with a mastery of vivid, concrete detail that makes you gasp

    WI Life
  • A gorgeous book, unsentimental but exultant, vivid and profound, and a fierce defense of small-scale farming

    National Geographic
  • A beautifully told tale suffused by a profound sense of belonging and a clear-eyed love of the land and its people.

    Sunday Morning Herald
  • His prose is earthed and conversational; it feels as if you're leaning over a gate, listening to his ruminations. The book exudes tough passion, and a sense of belonging and love that holds you rapt to the very last line

    Intelligent Life