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  • Published: 2 February 2021
  • ISBN: 9781760899035
  • Imprint: Hamish Hamilton
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 208
  • RRP: $24.99

Summertime

Reflections on a vanishing future




A different kind of nature writing, for a different kind of landscape.

I went and sat alone where Jimmy has been lying. It is way down in the bush. The light is soft, the air and the earth are cool, and the smell is of leaves and the river. I cannot presume to know what he is doing when he lies here, but it seems that he is taking himself back to an ecology not wrought by the terror of the fires, not fuelled by our violence on the earth. He is letting another earth heal him. Philosopher Danielle Celermajer’s story of Jimmy the pig caught the world’s attention during the Black Summer of 2019­­-20.

Gathered here is that story and others written in the shadow of the bushfires that ravaged Australia. In the midst of the death and grief of animals, humans, trees and ecologies Celermajer asks us to look around – really look around – to become present to all beings who are living and dying through the loss of our shared home.

At once a howl in the forest and an elegy for a country’s soul, these meditations are lyrical, profound and heartbreaking.

  • Published: 2 February 2021
  • ISBN: 9781760899035
  • Imprint: Hamish Hamilton
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 208
  • RRP: $24.99

About the author

Danielle Celermajer

An academic at the University of Sydney, Danielle Celermajer has written two previous books for Cambridge, the top publisher in her field (The Prevention of Torture, and The Sins of the Nation and the Ritual of Apologies).

She has contributed to other books with Bloomsbury, Stanford and Routledge. She is a regular on RN’s ‘The Minefield’ with Waleed Aly and Scott Stephens and ‘The Philosopher’s Zone’. She has also written for the SMH, the Guardian and the Conversation.

Praise for Summertime

For anyone who takes comfort in the companionship of animals, the swift grace of birds, the grandeur of trees, the miracle of pollinators and fruitfulness; for anyone who dreads the silence of a lonely, sterile Earth, read this. Now. I’m begging you.

Geraldine Brooks

Summertime deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as other nature-writing classics, such as those by Annie Dillard or Robert MacFarlane. An act of communion not only with animals but with the natural world that sustains us, this book is filled with the spirit of resistance to complacency in the face of catastrophe, and is also an ode to the daily, grounded actions that add up to a realistic politics of care.

Ceridwen Dovey

Here is a story salvaged from fire, and built from strategic hope, a story of two cherished animals and the lush landscape that Danielle Celermajer hoped to preserve for seven generations. Summertime is a rare elegy. It is rich with insights from history and philosophy yet rooted in the radiant detail of everyday life on the land. Vibrant and brave, moving, yet never sentimental, Summertime is a passionate call to attend to the worlds we cherish and without which our lives are diminished. In its clear-eyed, ardent intelligence, and passion for the natural world, Summertime recalls the vital work of John Berger and Helen McDonald. This moving and transcendent book voices a very contemporary experience—the ‘anticipatory nostalgia’ for what may soon be lost and yet might still be saved. Wise and haunting, tender and brave, I can think of no better guide to how to live and hope in our ‘breaking world’.

Mireille Juchau

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