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'Fowler's moving memoir charts her experience of coming out as a gay woman, alongside her journey through Birmingham's canal networks, mapping both the waterways and the travails of her heart.' Observer
'An emotional and compelling memoir, that left me inspired, both by her bravery in transforming her life, and by the unexpected beauty she finds along the way' Countryfile Magazine
'Fowler beautifully exposes her emotional fragility while also celebrating the unloved nature of buddleia, herons and even the water rats who take refuge among the locks.'i paper
'Fowler captures the beauty of the canal's dishevelled, neglected condition...' Times Literary Supplement
'Thoughtful and heartbreakingly honest ...Beautiful' Press Association
'An astounding memoir' Gay Star News
'Hidden Nature is one of the most thrilling things I've read in a long time' Waterways World
'She writes wonderfully about the species that have carved out a place for themselves amid the discarded shopping trolleys, condom packets and industrial waste' Guardian
'This candid book is as much about mapping the heart as it is about mapping the paths of waterways. Lovely.' Simple Things
'A beautiful memoir' Good Housekeeping
'Gentle, brave and acutely observant' Woman's Weekly
Leaving her garden to the mercy of the slugs, the Guardian's award-winning writer Alys Fowler set out in an inflatable kayak to explore Birmingham's canal network, full of little-used waterways where huge pike skulk and kingfishers dart.
Her book is about noticing the wild everywhere and what it means to see beauty where you least expect it. What happens when someone who has learned to observe her external world in such detail decides to examine her internal world with the same care?
Beautifully written, honest and very moving, Hidden Nature is also the story of Alys Fowler's emotional journey and her coming out as a gay woman: above all, this book is about losing and finding, exploring familiar places and discovering unknown horizons.
About the Author
Alys Fowler is an award winning journalist and passionate gardener. She is the author of several books and writes a weekly column on gardening for Guardian Weekend magazine. She lives in Birmingham.
"I felt as if I'd paddled into a new country." The gardening author and Guardian columnist with a distinctive memoir in which she forsakes her garden and takes to paddling Birmingham's little-used canal network in an inflatable kayak. The time and space she allows herself for nature observation--kingfishers, waterlilies, pikes, freshwater mussels and blackberries are all beautifully reflected on--is mirrored by her exploration of her internal self, particularly in the light of leaving her marriage and coming out as gay. An enchanting book which somehow manages to be both gutsy and delightfully soothing.—The Bookseller
In the beautiful memoir Hidden Nature: A Voyage of Discovery, TV gardener Alys Fowler steers a barge around Birmingham's waterways, noting the plants and realising, after 12 years as wife and carer to her husband, that she has fallen in loe=ve with a woman.—Good Housekeeping
This candid book is as much about mapping the heart as it is about mapping the paths of waterways. Lovely.—Simple Things
She writes wonderfully about the species that have carved out a place for themselves amid the discarded shopping trolleys, condom packets and industrial waste—Guardian
Gentle, brave and acutely observant—Woman's Weekly
Hidden Nature is one of the most thrilling things I've read in a long time.—Waterways World
Thoughtful and heartbreakingly honest ...Beautiful.—Press Association