Posted 20 hours ago

I Can Hear the Cuckoo: Life in the Wilds of Wales

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It started off well, the author's mother dies and she moves away from London to the Welsh hills to flee her toxic constrained family. After reading this memoir, do watch Heart Valley, an award-winning short documentary on the life of Wilf Davies, a 73-year-old farmer who eats the same food for more than 10 years and has never left country life for city life in his lifetime. She notes it’s odd to be a Brown woman in a rural Welsh setting, but also notes that everyone’s different there and you are compelled into companionship with people with whom you have little in common; also, everything has been there for centuries and is infinite so that pales into insignificance. Her descriptions of the change in herself, enjoying nature and things that she never would have previously before her mother passed away, of the process of "living" again, rang powerful and true.

She's always lived in the city, so to swap city life for rural Wales was a big step but she knew she needed something new, and after a holiday with her husband they took the plunge to move and see what life could offer them there. Her words do not so much weave a tapestry as assemble a life’s quilt; each individual patch revealing multiple layers of her life and her growth. After hearing an interview on Radio 4 I had high hopes but ultimately this is a self-absorbed, mawkish and pretty patronising read.

They speak in cliche philosophical soundbites, and feel to me as though they are lifted from various Enid Blyton farm stories rather than real life. The pain of her mother's death is terrible and she can't stop ruminating on her mother's illness, death and her family's treatment of her after her mum's death.

It made her stop to take time to look around and notice the small things, and just the simple pleasure of a walk in nature would take her out of herself and focus on what she saw. Kiran Sidhu never thought she could leave London, but when her mother passes away, she knows she has to walk out of her old life and leave her toxic family behind.

Having moved first to rural west Wales and then to a small town in Powys, it’d be interesting to compare the experiences of relocating – though of course there’s evidently more to this book than just moving house. About the Author: Kiran Sidhu is a freelance journalist and has written features, lifestyle and opinion pieces for The Guardian, Observer, Telegraph, The i Paper, The Independent, Metro, Woman magazine, Woman's Own and Breathe magazine. I enjoyed reading this book,I am a slow reader,but with the chapters being short,it was easy to dip in and out at my own pace and perfect for a break.

I don’t succeed in reading the books/magazines/newspapers on the tablet, I prefer the old dear paper and, moreover, I prefer to not read books where sad animal stuff happens. I Can Hear the Cuckoo is a tender, philosophical memoir about the beauty of a microscopic life, the value of solitariness, and respecting the rhythm and timing of the earth. It's a book about moving through grief and the people we find in the midst of our sadness - and what this small community in the Welsh countryside can teach us about life. I am so happy to know Kiran received such a wonderful welcome and found a sense of peace in the Welsh Valleys, the home of my own forebears. The best parts of the book, for me, was the description of the individuals and community in a very small hamlet and the impact of the seasons.The book starts with some pictures,which entice you in and help you relate to the book as you go along.

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