'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' PD Smith, Guardian
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.
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.
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
Burnett manages the delicate feat of maintaining our sense of reverence for the nebulous Anglo-Saxon romanticism..., but twins it with astute scientific nous which never strays into the esoteric. She does this with such joy that we cannot help but want to join in... a heartening read.
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.
A poetic, lyrical tribute to the earth beneath our feet . . . Burnett is one of the freshest voices in the current crop of nature writers
This astonishingly beautiful ode to the sights, sounds and smells of the countryside . . . [evokes] a richly immersive sense of the natural world and our place within it.
Washes off the urban world
This book refreshes like an icy dip, startling us from both comfort and despair