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  • Published: 4 April 2019
  • ISBN: 9781473562967
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 256

How to Catch a Mole

And Find Yourself in Nature




A life-affirming book about the British countryside, the cycle of nature, solitude, mortality and contentment, through the prism of a brilliant new nature writer's experience working as a traditional mole-catcher.

Longlisted for the Wainwright Book Prize 2019

A calming, life-affirming book about the British countryside, the cycle of nature, solitude and contentment, by a brilliant new nature writer who spent time homeless as a young man, sleeping in the hedgerows he now knows so well. Although common, moles are mysterious: their habits are inscrutable, they are anatomically bizarre, and they live completely alone. Marc Hamer has come closer to them than most, both through his long working life out in the Welsh countryside, and his experiences of rural homelessness as a boy.

Over the years, Marc has learned a great deal about these small, velvet creatures who live in the dark beneath us, and the myths that surround them, and his work has also led him to a wise and uplifting acceptance of the inevitable changes that we all face. In this beautiful and meditative book, 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.

How to Catch a Mole is a gem of nature writing, beautifully illustrated by Joe McLaren, which celebrates living peacefully and finding wonder in the world around us.

  • Published: 4 April 2019
  • ISBN: 9781473562967
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 256

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 How to Catch a Mole

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

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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