I am so glad I found this forum. I thought maybe I was losing my mind. I had heard so many great things about Macfarlane - rave reviews, awards..- so ordered a copy of The Wild Places..... my review? Let’s put it this way, Macfarlane sounds like the kind of guy who could clear a room in a minute flat. Boring as hell!!! The writing is turgid, overblown, ostentatious , wordy, contrived, At one point, he meets an interesting Scottish forester named Angus who invites him to go trout fishing the next morning. But does RM talk about the guy? Does he relate any nuggets of wisdom? Does he fk. He talks about how the sunlight dances off the surface of the stream... and even talks about fkn “photons”. He kills everything with his ridiculous descriptions and fatuous analogiesAnyone read anything of his? The new one, Underland, looks decent:
Wait what are you talking about? Have you ever read anything by him? The person you describe is worthy of scorn but it's not Mcfarlane.It's just doing something to write a book about it. Like travelling round Ireland with a fridge. These books don't need to be In the world. It's disgusting careerism. Just journalism. Offensive. The writing is appalling, barely literate and what do you get out of it. A few facts out of Wikipedia. Something about oh I like hawthorn bushes they're fab
He's like the origin of Richard Powers lol, if you bite the bullet on Powers, Mcfarlane is much better I thinkRichard Powers mentioned him in a recent interview and I was intrigued and expected him to be some craggy explorer, but he seems more like a Blue Peter or Countryfile presenter. Disappointing.
Yes it's a small differences thing right, he's working with archetypes of the natural world like Luke does and so there's a rivalry and also a heightened sensitivity to any trespasses or deviations from his own sense about how to set about these thingsI reviewed Underland for 4columns
Really enjoyed it (and the previous one Landmarks, a celebration of other earlier Nature writers and formative influences - although that one can be ever so slightly prissy in its precision lyricism - a quality that's gone with the new book, the prose is loosened up, for the better).
When I was reading Underland, I actually thought, "I'll Amazon this to Luke as a surprise, he'll dig it ".... but then something checked the impulse, I thought "actually, I bet he won't dig it, I bet he doesn't like Macfarlane at all.... "
But I could not have imagined the ferocity of the loathing!
A Landmarks glossary titled “Underlands” is probably the seed of the new book, which is a lexical delight in its own right, a feast of terms for underground spaces: ghost rivers, dolines, barrows (or burial mounds), ossuaries, clathrate (very deep ice), the siphons and galleries of cave systems, sinkholes, and many more.