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Curtains of Geese

Benjamin Lytal: How to be a traveller, 15 August 2019

Horizon 
by Barry Lopez.
Bodley Head, 572 pp., £25, March 2019, 978 1 84792 577 0
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... his best-known book, Arctic Dreams (1986), after chapters on migratory routes, ice, and musk oxen, Barry Lopez recounts the legend of Saint Brendan, the sixth-century Irish monk who sailed north with his brethren in a leathern boat. The monks see an iceberg – ‘a crystal pillar’ – and row towards it, though it takes three days to reach, finally ...

Nature made the house

William Fiennes: Barry Topez, 29 July 1999

Arctic Dreams 
by Barry Lopez.
Harvill, 464 pp., £7.99, January 1999, 1 86046 583 8
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About This Life: Journeys on the Threshold of Memory 
by Barry Lopez.
Harvill, 275 pp., £12, January 1999, 9781860465659
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... Many of the 17 ‘essays’ in Barry Lopez’s About This Life are fragments of memoir: snapshots of the day of a mother’s death from cancer; early road trips up and down America; Jesuit prep school in Manhattan; childhood years in California; a tributary career in photography. The book begins with a series of travelogues ...

Arctic and Orphic

Chauncey Loomis, 19 June 1986

Arctic Dreams: Imagination and Desire in a Northern Landscape 
by Barry Lopez.
Macmillan, 464 pp., £14.95, May 1986, 0 333 42244 9
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... explored, however, the Arctic remains at least partly a world of fantasy. In Arctic DreamsBarry Lopez writes at length of the Arctic as it is now seen by scientists. Lopez is a professional writer with a near-professional grasp of the natural sciences and anthropology: his book is rich in fact, perhaps the best ...

Yearning for Polar Seas

James Hamilton-Paterson: North, 1 September 2005

The Ice Museum: In Search of the Lost Land of Thule 
by Joanna Kavenna.
Viking, 334 pp., £16.99, February 2005, 0 670 91395 2
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The Idea of North 
by Peter Davidson.
Reaktion, 271 pp., £16.95, January 2005, 1 86189 230 6
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... can appear bleak and lifeless to an urban visitor, but there is abundant life even beneath snow. Barry Lopez, in his 1986 book Arctic Dreams, makes clear that, far from being a sterile desert of ice and snow, the Arctic remains a dynamic habitat for a few well-adapted species. Perhaps unfairly, I reread Arctic Dreams before reading Davidson and Kavenna ...

The Wildest, Highest Places

David Craig, 17 July 1997

John Muir: His Life and Letters and Other Writings 
edited by Terry Gifford.
Baton Wicks, 912 pp., £20, November 1996, 1 898573 07 7
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... of richly physical prose. In this he is closer to the master wildlife writers of our own time – Barry Lopez or Mike Tomkies, Jim Crumley or John Baker – than to the moralistic and didactic Victorians. In Muir a delighted immersion was primary. He was born like that and he grew up like that. Activity and gleeful sensing were second nature to him ...

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