Holloway, by Robert Macfarlane, Stanley Donwood and Dan Richards
Robert MacFarlane, Stanley Donwood, Dan Richards
Faber & Faber
Anyone who treasures the work of the nature writer Robert Macfarlane, and who regularly revisits his books The Old Ways and The Wild Places, will want to acquire this tiny, beguilingly strange object. Everyone else will ask: are you mad? Shelling out more than €10 for a book of fewer than 40 pages, most of them less than half-full of text? Then again, Holloway was first produced as a limited-edition artwork, so this is a bargain. With stark, skeletal illustrations by Stanley Donwood and scraps of commentary by Macfarlane and the novelist Dan Richards – differentiated only by their use, respectively, of an ampersand and a simple “and” – Holloway is a kind of song, part paean to the vagaries of landscape history, part lament for Macfarlane’s friend Roger Deakin, part Boy’s Own adventure. The lads fall off bikes, sleep out in a storm, cook on a campfire. The result is to make these Anglo-Saxon paths more rather than less mysterious. Mad. But in a good way.