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On the Black Hill Paperback – Nov 11 1983


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 100 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; New edition edition (Nov. 11 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330281240
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330281249
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 1.5 x 13.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 240 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

Product Description

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Bruce Chatwin's fascination with nomads and wanderlust represents itself in reverse in On the Black Hill, a tale of two brothers (identical twins) who never go anywhere. They stay in the farmhouse on the English-Welsh border where they were born, tilling the rough soil and sleeping in the same bed, touched only occasionally by the advance of the 20th century. Smacking of a Welsh Ethan Frome, Chatwin evokes the lonely tragedies of farm life, and above all the vibrant land of Wales. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Review

"His deepest and best book" Independent "When I think of Bruce Chatwin now, I think of the ultimate storyteller. It's the resonance of the voice and the depth of his vision that makes him one of the truly great writers of our time" -- Werner Herzog, from 'Bruce Chatwin' by Nicholas Shakespeare "Nearly every writer of my generation in England has wanted, at some point, to be Bruce Chatwin; wanted, like him, to talk of Fez and Firdausi, Nigeria and Nuristan, with equal authority; wanted to be talked about, as he is, with raucous envy; wanted above all to have written his books...(he was) a writer no one who cares for literature can afford not to read." -- Andrew Harvey New York Times --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Format: Paperback
All Bruce Chatwin's books seem to have a provincial side to them. Set in outlandish places in all corners of the Earth, they all have a sort of question mark attached to them, perhaps asking: Now, what's going on here? "On the Black Hill," is, I maintain, set in as outlandish a spot as any of them. The Welsh countryside has bred just as odd examples of humanity as the green hills of Kentucky or the wide veldt of South Africa. Yet Chatwin sees through them all, down to some sort of common denominator, and what we have in this book is the most human story to issue from this pen. The story of the twins will not only delight for its old-fashioned setting and eccentric but somehow so British behaviour, it will also draw you into Chatwin's elegant prose with its remarkable tempo (you might almost call it metre) and ability to colour scenes with gouache-like softness and light. In fact, coming to Chatwin through "On the Black Hill" may not be such a good idea. Read "The Songlines" first, and failing that, read "Utz" either before or after. In any case, although this short-lived modern writer has not left us the overwhelming legacy we might normally have expected, there is sufficient material to keep you occupied and thinking about your own and Chatwin's world, for some time to come. And in the end you'll see that Bruce Chatwin's not provincial at all.
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Format: Paperback
On the Black Hill is an elegantly written homage to the inelegant life of rural Wales, a life in which no one ever strays far from the farm--there are few opportunities and little motivation to do so. Spartan lives are enriched by stories and gossip, slights are never forgotten, feuds reach epic intensity, and bottled-up frustrations simmer till they explode. Through rich and vivid descriptions of the minutiae of daily existence, we come to know twin brothers Lewis and Ben Jones as they grow up and are shaped by their family and their small community. The townspeople become our own friends or enemies, depending on their behavior towards the twins, and we empathize with them as they use their limited resources to struggle with the Big Questions which concern us all--questions of life, love, spirituality, death, cruelty, justice, and ultimately, happiness. By paring life to the bone here, Chatwin gives us a classic example of the adage, "Less is more."
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By A Customer on July 19 1999
Format: Paperback
For me this lacks the spontaneity and originality of his other novels. By his standards it is quite a conventional narrative, seems a little too carefully planned and has too much detail. However it is a well written and often compelling book. If it had been written by an unknown I'd probably have liked it better, but from Chatwin I had hoped for a bit more. Perhaps I was spoilt by the genius of all his other fiction (and faction) and expected too much from this one. He draws some beautiful pictures of the landscape - which is an important character in the novel. As ever, he has a great sense of place.
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Format: Paperback
For me this lacks the spontaneity and originality of his other novels. By his standards it is quite a conventional narrative, seems a little too carefully planned and has too much detail. However it is a well written and often compelling book. If it had been written by an unknown I'd probably have liked it better, but from Chatwin I had hoped for a bit more. Perhaps I was spoilt by the genius of all his other fiction (and faction) and expected too much from this one. He draws some beautiful pictures of the landscape - which is an important character in the novel. As ever, he has a great sense of place.
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