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"The house on the edge of the cliff was demolished this week, which means we are now the house on the edge of the cliff."
In June 2015, the house was 50 paces from the edge. Now, it is 25 paces away.
The Easternmost House is a memoir which describes a year of life on a crumbling cliff at the easternmost edge of England, all year round and in all weathers. Written at the kitchen table of the eponymous house in Suffolk, it is a meditation on nature, on coastal erosion, and on the changing seasons. It describes a life lived in close proximity to the natural world, and evokes the lived-in outdoors of the everyday: of the firewood forager, the improviser, the beachcomber.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
"The house on the edge of the cliff was demolished last week, which means we are now the house on the edge of the cliff".
It's hard to imagine living in a house at such immediate danger of being swallowed up by nature, but Juliet Blaxland both lives and loves being a resident of "The Easternmost House". In this book we follow a year in the life of the coastal residents of Suffolk. In January the house is, roughly, 24 metres from the cliff - by December that distance has shrunk to 19 metres. It doesn't take a genius to realise that the property's days can be measured in years rather than decades.
However the author clearly loves the country lifestyle and is pragmatic enough to realise that nature often has rules of it's own. It can't be contained and can't be changed and so it is up to us to work with it.
Rather than a depressing tale of the disappearing coastline the book is more a collection of thoughts, memories and gentle opinions. Full of little nuggets on the subjects of religion "each church must now be maintained by twenty-odd (or twenty odd) people", wildlife friendly farming and, indeed, the way our annual calendar has historically revolved around the land this is not necessarily a book you'd want to read in one sitting. Rather more something to dip in and out of when, perhaps, you need a little time out from the munitiae of life. A book to allow for moments of calm and reflection "Life is short. Live in the moment. Our moment of life is brief. The world is unpredictable but we can control ourselves"
It's a master class in accepting what we cannot change and appreciating the beauty around us (with caution - the tale of the snake and baby is a bit eye opening!)
Ultimately there's a little something for everyone - I'm sure most readers could find a parallel or two. A charming and thought provoking read.
`Destined to be a 21st Century classic. Just brilliant.'-John Lewis-Stempel, author of The Running Hare; `A marvellous evocation of the Suffolk coast. It made me want to jump on the next train out of London.'-Andrew Gimson, author of Gimson's Kings & Queens; `[Juliet] creates a world full of people and poetry, which we must fight to keep forever... the whole book is both touching and often very funny, and I loved the monthly food lists.'-Jilly Cooper, author of The Rutshire Chronicles; `Brilliant memoir about nature, landscape, food and the disconnect between town and country.'-India Knight, The Sunday Times; `I feel like a stalker, but reading Juliet Blaxland's The Easternmost House, I got straight into my car and drove over to stare at her home. Her wonderful book describes living on the most extreme outpost of Suffolk's coast of erosion.' -Janice Turner, The Times; `The author writes beautifully about her life in this small extremity... a hymn to a simpler life, one lived more in tune with the rhythms of the natural world, with its wonders and its perils.'-Country Life; `Prose that flows effortlessly with a wry turn of phrase at every corner. Plus, she's bloody funny. In The Easternmost House you read the sound of her voice, and so the book rattles along like a good'un. '-Caught by the River; `A beautiful book, eloquent and evocative. Lyrical, poignant and witty, this book is a moving testament to a still enormously vibrant but vanishing time, place and way of life.' -Maggie Craig; `Blaxland's writing is evocative, whether she is writing about the roar of a storm, jugs of homemade Pimm's or the attempt to create a crop circle. She has a deep love of the coastal landscape she inhabits.' -Halfman, Halfbook