Her earlier work often found her on the move, but in her latest book Linda Cracknell seems more interested in the power of being still, writes Roger Cox In 2014, the Perthshire-based author Linda Cracknell wrote a book called Doubling Back: Ten Paths Trodden in Memory, which deserves to be celebrated as one of the great Scottish contributions to the nebulous but undoubtedly significant movement known as New Nature Writing. Unfortunately, it was released by the ill-fated Glasgow imprint Freight – named Scottish Publisher of the year in 2015, before falling into administration in 2017. As a result, there's nobody out there advocating on the book's behalf any more, making sure it's always represented in the ever-expanding “nature” sections in bookshops, and there is unlikely to be a tenth anniversary marketing campaign next year, of the kind a canny publisher might conceivably cook up. All of which is a crying shame. As I said in a review at the time, even though Doubling Back followed fairly hot on the heels of Robert Macfarlane's acclaimed 2012 book The Old Ways, and was very similar in terms of its outline (journeys on foot, mostly along ancient paths with stories to tell) it certainly didn't suffer by comparison. If Macfarlane painted strikingly vivid word-pictures of the landscapes he encountered, Cracknell created something altogether more visceral, allowing the reader to feel her experiences as much as see them. One of my favourite instances of this comes in her account of a walk along […]
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