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A Single Swallow

De
336 pages


From the slums of Cape Town to the palaces of Algiers, through Pygmy villages where pineapples grow wild, to the Gulf of Guinea where the sea blazes with oil flares, across two continents and fourteen countries - this epic journey is nothing to swallows, they do it twice a year. But for Horatio Clare, writer and birdwatcher, it is the expedition of a lifetime. Along the way he discovers old empires and modern tribes, a witch-doctor's recipe for stewed swallow, explains how to travel without money or a passport, and describes a terrifying incident involving three Spanish soldiers and a tiny orange dog. By trains, motorbikes, canoes, one camel and three ships, Clare follows the swallows from reed beds in South Africa, where millions roost in February, to a barn in Wales, where a pair nest in May.




A hell of a journey The Times The author deploys some fine lyrical writing and a gift for inventive, unexpected metaphor ... Clare's other great asset is his brave, modern, multicultural and open-hearted approach to travel itself Guardian Clare has produced an enthusiastic, often elegiac, chronicle of his encounters with the swallows The Sunday Times Clare is a gifted and lyrical travel writer, excellent at conveying atmospheres and good at making contact with all sorts of people ... a sensitive and intelligent observer Financial Times Fizzingly entertaining. His own prose has something of their flight: daring, sharp-edged, fast-moving, graceful, full of surprises. This is a great adventure, thrillingly realised Literary Review Remarkably insightful and entertaining, with Clare proving himself to be the most enthusiastic, open-minded, intelligent and incorrigibly romantic of travellers. Mail on Sunday His eye for detail and his elegant pen give flavour of each country he crosses: great veldt and high plateaux, Congo's "green vastness", the "sandy seas" of the Sahel and, finally, the fertile plain of the north African coast The Economist The resulting book, travel writing at its very best, is enthralling, passionate, hair-raising, quirky, hilarious, informative, occasionally mad and utterly, utterly brilliant... irresistible stuff. Daily Mail Horatio Clare pays tribute to the extraordinary migratory journeys of the swallow...a book that combines travel with natural history. Metro, Shelf Space: Bird Books to Try



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