Adam Nicolson writes a celebrated column for The Sunday Telegraph. His books include Sissinghurst, God’s Secretaries, When God Spoke English, Wetland, Life in the Somerset Levels, Perch Hill, Restoration, and the acclaimed Gentry. He is winner of the Somerset Maugham Award and the British Topography Prize and lives on a farm in Sussex.
In this passionate, deeply personal book, Adam Nicolson explains why Homer matters—to him, to you, to the world—in a text full of twists, turns and surprises
In a spectacular journey through mythical and modern landscapes, Adam Nicholson explores the places forever haunted by their Homeric heroes. From Sicily, awash with wildflowers shadowed by Italy's largest oil refinery, to Ithaca, southern Spain, and the mountains on the edges of Andalusia and Extremadura, to the deserted, irradiated steppes of Chernobyl, where Homeric warriors still lie under the tumuli, unexcavated. This is a world of springs and drought, seas and cities, with not a tourist in sight. And all sewn together by the poems themselves and their great metaphors of life and suffering.
Showing us the real roots of Homeric consciousness, the physical environment that fills the gaps between the words of the poems themselves, Nicholson’s is itself a Homeric journey. A wandering meditation on lost worlds, our interconnectedness with our ancestors, and the surroundings we share. This is the original meeting of place and mind, our empathy with the past, our landscape as our drama.
Following the acclaimed Gentry, which established him as one of the great landscape writers working today, Nicholson takes Homer’s poems back to their source: beneath the distant, god-inhabited mountains, on the Trojan plains above the graves of the heroic dead, we find afresh the foundation level of human experience on earth.