The Living Mountain

by Nan Shepherd.

1940s masterpiece of nature writing.

The Living Mountain

Nan Shepherd's The Living Mountain is about the Cairgorm Mountains. It was written in the 1940s, it is very short, and it is a masterpiece. I don't tend to use the word masterpiece lightly.

Shepherd's writing is poetic, but don't let that put you off. She had a way with words—[of a mountain loch:] "I know its depth, though not in feet"—and she had a way of noticing things that we have all seen, but never actually noticed: "[Rowan] grows here and there among birches and firs, as a rule singly, and sometimes higher than either, a solitary bush by the rivulet in a ravine." It is fantastic stuff.

Just read this book, basically.

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