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Late Light: 'An astonishing read' - AMY LIPTROT, AUTHOR OF THE OUTRUN

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Late Light brings the refreshing perspective of someone who goes from seeing England as a foreign place to someone who deeply studies its secret wonders. It approaches small things with a quiet and tender profundity, and its attentiveness to the quivering of life will leave you aching with world-love.

Its a thoughtfully written and at times quite personal memoir about someone who becomes fascinated by 'uncharismatic' animals that are threatened by the spectre and ongoing reality of extinction and ecological collapse - we follow them on their investigations and encounters with these creatures and the people who care for them, as they draw parallels and insights that are related back to the chapter themes. Late Light is the story of Michael Malay’s own journey, an Indonesian Australian making a home for himself in England and finding strange parallels between his life and the lives of the animals he examines. Now, one eel swims in a bucket: Malay notes its inquisitive eyes, and the “dash of red” visible in its translucent body — the creature’s fluttering heart. He spent his early years in Jakarta, Indonesia, before moving to Australia with his family at the age of ten.There are fascinating points about land that is reclaimed by nature that fits in with the rewilding books I’ve been reading, but going deeper into smaller areas again. I know when I first came to England, I was stunned by the deep green of the hills, the bluebells, the daffodils coming out so early… but have forgotten to marvel at all of this now, after living here so long.

The Somerset Levels is a fascinating area for wildlife, quite different from the rest of the West Country. Through his journeys to understand the lives of four "unloved" animals, Michael Malay pays a debt of deep respect to the Earth and its interconnectedness.

With presences, and with danger: for the enfeebled environment that dooms so many species will inevitably doom us too; there is, in the end, no escape.

For where is the essential difference between human lives ground down by economic austerity and homelessness, and animal lives marginalised into extinction by disappearing habitats and poisoned water? This book is filled with genuinely thought provoking and sometimes quite touching reflections on things like the nature of home, the solace of friendship and community, loss, paying attention to the world outside of yourself, and the plurality of the tragedy taking place under our noses. In underscoring the concept of basic dignity as being the right of all species, and illuminating the idea of an expansive, planetary politics, Malay offers a bright, fierce hope for the future. Although I had a few books published in July on my NetGalley TBR already, I couldn’t resist requesting this one, as it was described thus: “Late Light is the story of Michael Malay’s own journey, an Indonesian-Australian-American making a home for himself in England and finding strange parallels between his life and the lives of the animals he examines”.Michael captures how it feels to find pockets of magic and meaning on our doorsteps, and how to sustain our hope for the future. Worth saying as well, despite how I may have made it sound, this book is eminently readable, and despite the subject matter it's also by no means a depressing read - a little melancholy perhaps, but after reading it I felt more ready to engage with these issues than I have for several months. Neuware -'Late Light brings the refreshing perspective of someone who goes from seeing England as a foreign place to someone who deeply studies its secret wonders. It is a lyrical work of ecology and nature writing that focuses upon four 'uncharismatic' species, the eel, the moth, the mussel and the cricket, and uses them to tell a story that shows how amazing they are from a non-anthropocentric perspective.

Early in Late Light, Michael Malay’s astonishing account of a journey through the natural world, the author peers down into a water-filled bucket. Amy Liptrot, The Outrun This is a book about falling in love with vanishing things Late Light is the story of Michael Malay's own journey, an Indonesian Australian making a home for himself in England and finding strange parallels between his life and the lives of the animals he examines. Michael teaches at the University of Bristol, and this book explores the natural landscape in and around the city from the Mendips to Troopers Hill. His creative writing has been widely published, including in Little Toller's online magazine The Clearing (of which he was also a co-editor), The Willowherb Review and Dark Mountain. Told through the stories of four ‘uncharismatic’ creatures – eels, moths, freshwater pearl mussels, crickets – and Michael’s forays into their dwindling worlds, his is an inventive and curious account of modern extinction.Each year for eons, millions of juvenile eels have journeyed east from the Sargasso Sea to the rivers of Europe: to rest, grow, feed, and at last swim west again across the Atlantic to spawn and die. My family originates from Bridgwater and I have relatives around there and then there’s been a migration all the way to Dorset, where I still have an aunty and cousins! His voice is fresh, passionate, and beautifully attuned to the layers of enchantment and melancholy that emerge from the living world in today's challenging times.

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