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City of Trees: Essays on Life, Death and the Need for a Forest (Sophie Cunningham, Text)

In this poignant and timely collection of essays, Sophie Cunningham touches on matters private and political, historical and current, beautiful and terrifying—but always coming back to her obvious adoration of arboreal life. Weaving in and out of locations around the world (but predominantly San Francisco and Melbourne), with moments of scholarly fact-finding and personal soul-baring, Cunningham maintains a light touch despite the sometimes-heavy subject matter. Fans of Peter Wohlleben’s The Hidden Life of Trees will find familiar aspects in this collection, but the intimacy of the stories takes this book in an entirely different direction. There is also some kinship with Judi Dench’s TV show My Passion for Trees. I suspect these comparisons speak more to the strength of our current need to reconnect with nature rather than a response to a fleeting trend. City of Trees is ideal for those who enjoy travel narratives, personal essays and politics. Though it can be confronting at times to ponder endangered animals, melting icecaps, modern politics, family tragedies and loneliness, the outlook is ultimately hopeful. Readers will likely reflect on their own life and travels, spout environmental facts to their friends, and will probably start looking up a lot more often.

Hannah Cartmel is an editor and co-founder of The Rag & Bone Man Press and Little Barrow Press


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