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  • Published: 1 December 2020
  • ISBN: 9781784709938
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 256
  • RRP: $19.99

A Life in Nature

Or How to Catch a Mole



A captivating, life-affirming memoir of a life in nature that celebrates finding wonder in our world

A captivating, life-affirming memoir of a life in nature that celebrates finding wonder in our world. The perfect gift for nature lovers.'A wonderful book... It has taught me a lot. I feel great love for it' MAX PORTER

At the age of sixteen, Marc Hamer left home with only a rucksack and started walking. By day, he observed the animals and birds. By night, he slept under hedges, in woodlands and on riverbanks. It was the beginning of a life in nature.

Years later, now working as a gardener and mole-catcher in the Welsh countryside, Marc tells of the experiences that have shaped him and of the wonders that he encounters each day. He considers, too, the fascinating ways of the mole and the myths that surround this curious creature.

This beautiful, meditative book explores what nature can teach us about ourselves and our search for contentment. It is a celebration of living peacefully and finding joy in the world around us.

'It is rare to encounter such respect and understanding of nature' Rosamund Young, author of The Secret Life of Cows

** Longlisted for The Wainwright Prize 2019 **

(Published in hardback as How to Catch a Mole)

  • Published: 1 December 2020
  • ISBN: 9781784709938
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 256
  • RRP: $19.99

About the author

Marc Hamer

Marc Hamer was born in the North of England and moved to Wales over thirty years ago. After spending a period homeless, then working on the railway, he returned to education and studied fine art in Manchester and Stoke-on-Trent. He has worked in art galleries, marketing, graphic design and taught creative writing in a prison before becoming a gardener. His first book, A Life in Nature; or How to Catch a Mole, was longlisted for the Wainwright Prize.

Also by Marc Hamer

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Praise for A Life in Nature

From the first few words I knew I had encountered loving honesty and no one needs more than that. It is rare to encounter such respect and understanding of nature for herself.

Rosamund Young, author of The Secret Life of Cows

How To Catch A Mole is a beguiling mixture: part autobiography, part handbook, part travel book, part philosophical treatise. I’m happy to report that it succeeds on each level

Craig Brown, Mail on Sunday

Not only a compelling meditation on the 'little gentleman in black velvet'…but also a fascinating, lyrical account of the loneliness and beauty of life on the margins, a memoir of vagrancy

Times Literary Supplement

This is a wonderful book about our relationship with the earth, with other animals and with our own troubled humanity. It has taught me a lot. I feel great love for it.

Max Porter

How to Catch a Mole is a beautiful, elegiac ode to a remarkable creature. It’s also an exploration of Hamer’s life as he approaches his sunset years. Each page is filled with wonder, love, regret, humility and a sense of wonder (and oneness) with nature.

Washington Post

[How To Catch a Mole] has the feel of an enduring classic. It is the testament of a man who has learnt to see, who has the nerve to interrogate his own annihilation and who…handles language superbly

Charle Foster, Oldie

Marc tells his story and explores what moles, and a life in nature, can tell us about our own humanity and our search for contentment.

Sunday Express

[Hamer] offers us some heart-rending images which linger in the mind long after you’ve closed the book

Sebastian Shakespeare, Daily Mail

Marc Hamer's uplifting writings shed some light on the velvety creatures burrowing beneath our countryside.

National Geographic

Marc Hamer's wonderful How To Catch A Mole took me completely by surprise. It certainly is a book about catching moles but it is also a book of sound philosophy, poignant biography and a zen-like meditation on life and nature. Brilliant.

Caught By the River

The wisdom contained in this elegiac and intensely moving book doesn't need embellishing

Lady

This is an extraordinary book: Part natural history, part memoir, part poetry—all entirely gorgeous. I've read no other book like this. Its beauty and heartbreak will stay with me for a long time. PS: the author stops killing moles, thank goodness.

Sy Montgomery, bestselling author of How to Be a Good Creature and The Soul of an Octopus

It's not often you meet a mole-catcher, let alone read their story. Marc Hamer's uplifting writings shed some light on the velvety creatures burrowing beneath our countryside

National Geographic Traveller

[A] distinctive, quietly revelatory, book…a somewhat unlikely interplay of Hamer’s easeful poetry and observations with accounts of both the specialist life of moles and his own biography. Skilfully woven with eloquent simplicity, it offers a rich and sustained meditation on the task of apprehending the complex and delicate interconnectedness of life and land

Richard Greatrex, Church Times

A distinctive, quietly revelatory book... a rich and sustained meditation on the task of apprehending the complex and delicate interconnectedness of life and land. Its pages have much to teach us.

Church Times

A beguiling mixture of autobiography, practical handbook and philosophical treatise

Neil Armstrong and Hephzibah Anderson, Mail on Sunday, *Summer reads of 2019*

[A] wholly original book

Craig Brown, Mail on Sunday, *Books of the Year*

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