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A gleeful romp, oozing with chaotic energy, magical realism, laugh-out-loud irreverence, dark warnings and so many insights that, if you’re at all like this reader, entire sections will be marked out and dog-eared for re-reading.

In its essence a passionately-held treaty on our tremulous and vulnerable earthly communion, (an appeal to our collective conscience), there’s a playfulness to the writing that cannot help but get inside your head – sardonic, observant, hilarious, but also censorious – worried, genuinely hurting for the wrongs we as humans inflict on each other, on animals, the Earth, and Nature itself – the spirit of Nature, which ultimately is seeking to regain the balance we have tinkered with in ways too terrible to ignore.

Stylistically, the writing is challenging (“truly and beautifully of itself”) and, by design, not for the feint-of-heart. But oh, is it worth the effort!

An outpouring of stories (some vignettes and others longer, connected and more episodic), will take time and effort to make sense of, feeling fragmented initially – until you come across the first flash of insight, a quip or observation so keenly resonant or humorous that the world slows, and nothing becomes more important than your vivid appreciation of the insights unraveling in place in front of you.

A theme of sorts, and what feels like the beginning at least, of an understanding, will, if you stick with it, emerge. This is, when all is said and done, a re-telling of the unfolding of life, in all its forms, in a very particular place but across the “ghosts of time” and all other ethereal boundaries – the “spirit” of a small moored village, Underhill (on the Tor), anthropomorphic in its very nature, telling us its story, – the story of the lives and worlds set down over time; absorbed, digested and roiling in its very essence; now clamoring for attention.

The story-tellers themselves are a collage of odd and eccentric characters, creatures, spirits, and life-forms, – many centering around a folksinger from the sixties who unwittingly captures the essence of the Tor in what will eventually become a cult following of his music,

This book is lush with supporting themes that run the gamut, but perhaps focus most keenly on the march of the “giant black legs” of technology, digitization, social atrophy, environmental catastrophe, corporate greed, ego vs convergence, and the underlying yearning for recognition of the primal connection that ties all of it, all of us and the world we experience, and are, together.

As it absorbs us, we are urged, collectively, to “jump the sun”, to re-absorb the spirit of Nature around us that is, and will become again, our very essence.

The “real and vivid “ world we construct, in our heads (which is all that really matters) and how we “repaint the world”, is up to each of us. All of us.

“To do something too, to not just be here, standing still”.

A brilliant read, with words, ultimately, of hope, this book is highly recommended for those readers who are prepared to invest in its wisdom. In the opinion of this reader, a journey of time not only well-spent but long overdue.

A great big thank you to the author and the publisher for an ARC of this book. All thoughts presented are my own.

My stop today on the @RandomTTours #blogtour for #Villager by @Cox_Tom


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