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  • Published: 1 September 2010
  • ISBN: 9781409076247
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 336

A Single Swallow

Following An Epic Journey From South Africa To South Wales

A magical, thrilling journey and a hugely seductive book which combines the best travel and nature writing.

From the slums of Cape Town to the palaces of Algiers, through Pygmy villages where pineapples grow wild, to the Gulf of Guinea where the sea blazes with oil flares, across two continents and fourteen countries - this epic journey is nothing to swallows, they do it twice a year. But for Horatio Clare, writer and birdwatcher, it is the expedition of a lifetime.

Along the way he discovers old empires and modern tribes, a witch-doctor's recipe for stewed swallow, explains how to travel without money or a passport, and describes a terrifying incident involving three Spanish soldiers and a tiny orange dog. By trains, motorbikes, canoes, one camel and three ships, Clare follows the swallows from reed beds in South Africa, where millions roost in February, to a barn in Wales, where a pair nest in May.

  • Published: 1 September 2010
  • ISBN: 9781409076247
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 336

About the author

Horatio Clare

Horatio Clare is the bestselling author of numerous books including the memoirs Running for the Hills and Truant and the travel books A Single Swallow, Down to the Sea in Ships, Orison for a Curlew, Icebreaker and The Light in the Dark. His books for children include Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot and Aubrey and the Terrible Ladybirds. Horatio’s essays and reviews appear on BBC radio and in the Financial Times, the Observer and the Spectator, among other publications. He lives with his family in West Yorkshire.

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Praise for A Single Swallow

Clare's extraordinary and mesmerising odyssey following the migration of the swallow from South Africa to South Wales

Annabel Goldie, Herald

The author deploys some fine lyrical writing and a gift for inventive, unexpected metaphor ... Clare's other great asset is his brave, modern, multicultural and open-hearted approach to travel itself

Mark Cocker, Guardian

Fizzingly entertaining. His own prose has something of their flight: daring, sharp-edged, fast-moving, graceful, full of surprises. This is a great adventure, thrillingly realised

Tom Fort, Literary Review

Remarkably insightful and entertaining, with Clare proving himself to be the most enthusiastic, open-minded, intelligent and incorrigibly romantic of travellers.

Mail on Sunday

Clare has produced an enthusiastic, often elegiac, chronicle of his encounters with the swallows

Brian Schofield, The Sunday Times

Clare is a gifted and lyrical travel writer, excellent at conveying atmospheres and good at making contact with all sorts of people ... a sensitive and intelligent observer

Financial Times

His eye for detail and his elegant pen give flavour of each country he crosses: great veldt and high plateaux, Congo's "green vastness", the "sandy seas" of the Sahel and, finally, the fertile plain of the north African coast

The Economist

The resulting book, travel writing at its very best, is enthralling, passionate, hair-raising, quirky, hilarious, informative, occasionally mad and utterly, utterly brilliant... irresistible stuff.

Val Hennessy, Daily Mail

Horatio Clare pays tribute to the extraordinary migratory journeys of the swallow...a book that combines travel with natural history.

Claire Allfree, Metro, Shelf Space: Bird Books to Try

It's graphically done, making me feel I was with him all the way

The Sunday Telegraph, Seven Magazine

Clare is engaging and makes a convincing case for the futility of borders

Philip Womack, Daily Telegraph

An exciting book, and often very moving

Susan Hill, The Lady

This is a book of rare lyrical beauty

Brian Maye, Irish Times

His descriptive prose is faultlessly evocative

Daily Mail

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