The Screaming Sky by Charles Foster
‘Thoughtful, eloquent and beguiling.’ Richard Davenport-Hines, The Oldie
‘…he impresses on the page a reverence, an obsession, and eulogises about these tantalisingly high-riding creatures, as month by month he chases, follows, yearns for and details the behaviour of them with a chest-aching rawness and accuracy.’ Kirsteen McNish, Caught by the River
Swifts live in perpetual summer. They inhabit the air like nothing on the planet. They watched the continents shuffle to their present places and the mammals evolve. They are not ours, though we like to claim them. They defy all our categories and present no passports as they surf the winds across the world, sleeping in the high thin air, their wings controlled by an alert half-brain.
Common swifts – a numerous but profoundly un-common bird – are Charles Foster’s joy and obsession. The euphoria of their springtime arrival gives way to such painful bereavement when they depart that he tries to stay with them – manically, lyrically, scientifically – as they travel, catching up with them in Mozambique, over the cliff-tops of southern Spain, and as they mingle with worshippers at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
Fiercely rejecting the idea that swifts are ‘just’ birds – indeed that anything is ‘just’ anything – The Screaming Sky is a radical engagement with the infinite complexity of a species. It steps back, looks to the skies, and stands in awe of these magnificent birds.
Charles Foster is a writer, philosopher, and Fellow of Green Templeton College, University of Oxford. He is the author of many books, including the ground-breaking Being a Beast, which is a New York Times Bestseller, was long-listed for the Baillie Gifford and Wainwright Prizes, won an IgNobel Prize and the Deux Million d’Amis prize, and is the subject of a forthcoming feature film. He lives in Oxford and a remote part of the southern Peloponnese.
Size: 155 × 25 × 230 mm
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About Little Toller Books
Toller n river valley in West Dorset. Recorded in the Domesday
survey as Tolre, derived from a Celtic word for stream in a hollow valley.
Little Toller Books was born in 2008 as an imprint of the Dovecote Press, a family-run publishing company that has specialised in books about rural life and local history since 1974. Little Toller was started with a singular purpose: to revive forgotten and classic books about nature and rural life in the British Isles.
The success of Little Toller’s Nature Classics has enabled it to grow into an independent publisher, attuned to writers and artists who seek inventive ways to reconnect us with the natural world and to celebrate the places we live in.