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Canongate
04 May 2021
'A special, beautiful, many-faceted book' - Amy Liptrot 'A remarkable piece of writing...

Luminous' - Robert Macfarlane Kerri ni Dochartaigh was born in Derry, Northern Ireland, at the very height of the Troubles. She was brought up on a grey and impoverished council estate on the wrong side of town. But for her family, and many others, there was no right side. One parent was Catholic, the other was Protestant. In the space of one year they were forced out of two homes and when she was eleven a homemade petrol bomb was thrown through her bedroom window. Terror was in the very fabric of the city, and for families like Kerri's, the ones who fell between the cracks of identity, it seemed there was no escape.

In Thin Places, a mixture of memoir, history and nature writing, Kerri explores how nature kept her sane and helped her heal, how violence and poverty are never more than a stone's throw from beauty and hope, and how we are, once again, allowing our borders to become hard, and terror to creep back in. Kerri asks us to reclaim our landscape through language and study, and remember that the land we fight over is much more than lines on a map. It will always be ours but, at the same time, it never really was.
By:   Kerri ni Dochartaigh
Imprint:   Canongate
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Edition:   Export/Airside - Export/Airside/Ireland
Dimensions:   Height: 214mm,  Width: 135mm,  Spine: 20mm
Weight:   268g
ISBN:   9781838854515
ISBN 10:   1838854517
Pages:   272
Publication Date:   04 May 2021
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Kerri ni Dochartaigh was born in 1983, in Derry-Londonderry at the border between the North and South of Ireland. She read English Literature and Classical Civilisation at Trinity College Dublin and trained as a Waldorf teacher in Edinburgh. She taught in Edinburgh and Bristol, before returning to Ireland in her early thirties. She writes about nature, literature and place for the Irish Times, Dublin Review of Books, Caught by the River and others. She now lives in a railway cottage in the very heart of Ireland. Thin Places is her first book. @kerri_ni

Reviews for Thin Places

Ni Dochartaigh's memoir explores her childhood growing up during Northern Ireland's Troubles, the terrifying violence and prejudice she experienced first-hand and the impact it's had on her as an adult. It's also a story about the redemptive and elemental power of nature and of a landscape that endures * * Stylist, Best New Books * * Piercingly honest and full of grace, Kerri ni Dochartaigh's writing attends to people and the world around us with exceptional perception and careful compassion. To read this book is a bracing, beautiful and restorative experience -- WENDY ERSKINE It seems as if everything about life is contained within the covers of this astonishing book: politics, history, nature, language and of course, love. A profound and moving work of art. This is a really special book - certainly, I've never read one quite like it -- CHRISTINE DWYER HICKEY Ni Dochartaigh's delight in wild things weaves a thread of light through her childhood, adulthood and the book itself . . . Acutely personal . . . Wonderfully evocative . . . This heartfelt memoir, with its message on the saving grace of nature, may speak to an even wider audience than it first imagined * * Daily Mail * * A beautiful and harrowing book about trauma, the potential to heal and the subtle magic of the wild. Kerri ni Dochartaigh offers us a fragile kind of redemption, full of truth and solace -- KATHERINE MAY A powerful, bracing memoir that asks what happens when a child grows up in a city that isn't safe . . . This is a book that will make you see the world differently * * Irish Times * * An eloquent, moving work of politics, geography and the self. Full of wisdom and deeply engaging -- SINEAD GLEESON What was Kerri ni Dochartaigh's burden as a child - to exist in the gaps between the Catholic and Protestant communities in Northern Ireland - has become her gift as a writer. She is sensitive to the legacies of loss and trauma and highly attuned to the gifts of the natural world and the possibilities of place. This is a special, beautiful, many-faceted book -- AMY LIPTROT Powerful, unflinching . . . Part hymn to nature, part Troubles memoir . . . Vividly descriptive . . . Thin Places is at heart a survivor's story located in the real and brutally Darwinian world of lived experience * * Guardian, Book of the Day * * A remarkable piece of writing. I don't think I've ever read a book as open-hearted as this. It resists easy pieties of nature as a healing force, but nevertheless charts a recovery which could never have been achieved without landscape, wild creatures and thin places . It is also flocked with luminous details (moths, birds, feathers, skulls, moving water). Kerri's voice is utterly her own, rich and strange. I've folded down the corners of many pages, marking sentences and moments that glitter out at me. Wow -- ROBERT MACFARLANE


  • Long-listed for Wainwright Prize for UK Nature Writing 2021 (UK)

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