Mar­i­anne Tay­lor con­sid­ers a most un­wordly crea­ture in The Way of the Hare

The Simple Things - - FRESH -

An old verse which sets out 70 names for the hare – “creep-along, sit­ter-still, sud­den-start, shake-the-heart” – is a re­minder that po­ets, artists and nat­u­ral­ists have been fas­ci­nated by this un­worldly crea­ture for cen­turies, drawn to its “grace and gan­gly awk­ward­ness”, and its as­so­ci­a­tions with mad­ness, moon­light and magic. This fas­ci­nat­ing book looks at its in­tro­duc­tion to the UK in the Iron Age, its role as a trick­ster in myths, and ev­ery as­pect of its bi­ol­ogy. Ted Hughes de­scribed its bones as “light as glass”, but its spine is a flex­i­ble shock ab­sorber, and its legs long and lean – all the bet­ter to es­cape a range of preda­tors, in­clud­ing us. Which is why the book ends with a plea to “keep them safe, and keep them free to run”. ( Blooms­bury)

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