Sunday book review – The Horizontal Oak by Polly Pullar

This book isn’t really a nature book though there is nature in it. It is a moving and funny autobiography of someone who is interested in wildlife and wild places as well as domestic animals and a whole range of other things. But none of that matters as it is a very good read.

The author has lived through interesting times and her story is populated with alcoholics, broken marriages, suicide attempts, clandestine nocturnal liaisons, being a mother, rehabilitating injured animals and a lot of photography and fun along the way. She has lived in various parts of Scotland but also worked and  studied abroad.  Even when the author was let down, knocked down and must have felt down, the account is not necessarily upbeat but does not get the reader, this reader, down. I’d describe it as ‘stiff upper lip but with the trace of a wryful smile’. It’s rather Eric Newby-esque (one of my favourite authors).

I can’t help but enjoy the tale of the come-uppance of a bottom-pincher and, on a different level, the day of personally gutting 1500 Rainbow Trout.

A very enjoyable autobiography.

The cover? Adequate – 6/10 from me.

The Horizontal Oak: a life in nature by Polly Pullar is published by Birlinn.

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