Tales of Moorland and Estuary

Paperback, Panther, 1970; illustrated by Broom Lynne.

Book condition: fair.
Price: £2.00


The publisher's blurb to the first edition (1953) reads: 'The stories in this collection were written, with one exception, in the country where they have their being; that is, in the country of the Two Rivers: of Taw and of Torridge, which meet the Atlantic upon the coast of North Devon. In this book, the author has returned to the kind of writing which brought him fame. As The Hon. Sir John Fortescue wrote in his Introduction to Tarka the Otter: "The spirit of Dartmoor and Exmoor is, above all, the spirit of the waters, and to Mr. Williamson it is a spirit so familiar as to have become a part of himself. He loves the air, as witness his pictures of raven and peregrine and other birds. He loves the earth, as testify his studies of fitch and fox and badger. But above all he loves the water – fresh, brackish, salt; mist, rain, snow, ice – he follows it lovingly in all its forms. For him, I think, as for some others of us the Spirit of God still moves, as before the creation, upon the face of the waters."


'Tales of Moorland & Estuary are, however, as varied in mood and texture as the waters of Devon themselves. The warm, sunlit comedy of A Hero Of The Sands follows the note of mysticism, reminiscent of Melville, struck by The Crake. The brilliantly acute observation and satire of The White Stoat contrasts with the mist-hung terror of The Yellow Boots. When Mr. Williamson describes an otter at play we hold ourselves as still as some concealed watcher of the scene. When he evokes the dying world of a country house and its particular custom, we are touched and regretful. The mood may vary but the spell is constant; the spell of one of the leading prose-writers of his generation.'


This Panther paperback reprints all the stories from the first edition, together with Broom Lynne's original illustrations.


(For a further consideration of the book and the background to the writing of it, see Anne Williamson's Tales of Moorland and Estuary.)