Tuesday, 6 November 2018

#BlogTour The Light in the Dark: A Winter Journal by Horatio Clare

It's my pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Light in the Dark by Horatio Clare. It's a memoir, a personal journey from despair to holding out a reluctant hand for help.

About the Author
Horatio Clare is a critically acclaimed author and journalist. His first book, Running for the Hills: A Family Story, won the Somerset Maugham Award. His second book, Truant is ‘a stunningly-written memoir’, according to the Irish Times. A Single Swallow: Following an Epic Journey from South Africa to South Wales, was shortlisted for the Dolman Travel Book of the Year; Down to the Sea in Ships: Of Ageless Oceans and Modern Men won the Stanford-Dolman Travel Book of the Year 2015. Horatio’s first book for children, Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot, won the Branford Boase Award 2016 for best debut children's book. He lives in West Yorkshire.

Follow @HoratioClare @eandtbooks on Twitter
Buy The Light in the Dark: A Winter Journal

About the book
A moving winter diary that reveals the healing power of the natural world.

As November stubs out the glow of autumn and the days tighten into shorter hours, winter’s occupation begins. Preparing for winter has its own rhythms, as old as our exchanges with the land. Of all the seasons, it draws us together. But winter can be tough.

It is a time of introspection, of looking inwards. Seasonal sadness; winter blues; depression – such feelings are widespread in the darker months. But by looking outwards, by being in and observing nature, we can appreciate its rhythms. Mountains make sense in any weather. The voices of a wood always speak consolation. A brush of frost; subtle colours; days as bright as a magpie’s cackle. We can learn to see and celebrate winter in all its shadows and lights.

In this moving and lyrical evocation of a British winter and the feelings it inspires, Horatio Clare raises a torch against the darkness, illuminating the blackest corners of the season, and delving into memory and myth to explore the powerful hold that winter has on us. By learning to see, we can find the magic, the light that burns bright at the heart of winter: spring will come again.
This is a very personal insight into the authors struggle with depression. The beginning of the book reads like a nostalgic trip into his past, and those memories interrupt the present as he gives a perspective on his life and his childhood.

At first everything appears to be idyllic, as he speaks about the remote farm he grew up on and his family. Then just like the remote steep Welsh hills his words, thoughts and life start a descent, then an ascent and so on. The downwards and upwards scale of emotional turmoil inside his mind is connected viscerally to the seasonal changes, especially the months of winter.

The colder it gets the more oppressive it feels, which is countered simultaneously with the stark contrast of the beauty of winter. The contrast is important, especially if one replaces the beauty of his surroundings with the assumption that everyone else sees the world that way, whilst he experiences something completely different. This is an excellent example of how people with mental health issues experience the world in comparison to others.

I think one of the most poignant moments in the book is when Clare acknowledges he needs help and in doing so makes it clear why so many people, but in this case men in particular, don't reach out and are unwilling to take medication. There is still so much stigma attached to mental health issues in our society - it helps when stories like this shed a light on the issues.

It's a memoir, a personal journey from despair to holding out a reluctant hand for help. Leaving aside the beauty of the prose and the honesty with which it is written, I think it is commendable that the author has opened a door into his heart, mind and soul for us.

If just one person takes away something from this journal of struggle and darkness, and they will, then he can take a moment of positivity and strength from knowing he has built a bridge others can use to find a way through their own darkness.

It's a brave, beautiful and a very honest account of a personal struggle.

Buy The Light in the Dark: A Winter Journal at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.
Publisher: Elliot & Thompson, Pub. date 1 November 2018

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