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About the book
  • Published: 1 September 2010
  • ISBN: 9781409076247
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 336

A Single Swallow

Following An Epic Journey From South Africa To South Wales

A magical, thrilling journey and a hugely seductive book which combines the best travel and nature writing

From the slums of Cape Town to the palaces of Algiers, through Pygmy villages where pineapples grow wild, to the Gulf of Guinea where the sea blazes with oil flares, across two continents and fourteen countries - this epic journey is nothing to swallows, they do it twice a year. But for Horatio Clare, writer and birdwatcher, it is the expedition of a lifetime. Along the way he discovers old empires and modern tribes, a witch-doctor's recipe for stewed swallow, explains how to travel without money or a passport, and describes a terrifying incident involving three Spanish soldiers and a tiny orange dog. By trains, motorbikes, canoes, one camel and three ships, Clare follows the swallows from reed beds in South Africa, where millions roost in February, to a barn in Wales, where a pair nest in May.

  • Pub date: 1 September 2010
  • ISBN: 9781409076247
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 336

About the Author

Horatio Clare

Horatio Clare is the bestselling author of the memoirs Running for the Hills and Truant and the travel books A Single Swallow (which follows the birds' migration from South Africa to the UK), Down to the Sea in Ships (the story of two voyages on container vessels) and Orison for a Curlew, a journey in search of one of the world’s rarest birds. His books for children include Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot and Aubrey and the Terrible Ladybirds. Horatio’s essays and reviews appear on BBC radio and in the Financial Times, the Observer and the Spectator, among other publications. He lives with his family in West Yorkshire.

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Praise for A Single Swallow

“Clare's extraordinary and mesmerising odyssey following the migration of the swallow from South Africa to South Wales”

Annabel Goldie, Herald

“The author deploys some fine lyrical writing and a gift for inventive, unexpected metaphor ... Clare's other great asset is his brave, modern, multicultural and open-hearted approach to travel itself”

Mark Cocker, Guardian

“Fizzingly entertaining. His own prose has something of their flight: daring, sharp-edged, fast-moving, graceful, full of surprises. This is a great adventure, thrillingly realised”

Tom Fort, Literary Review

“Remarkably insightful and entertaining, with Clare proving himself to be the most enthusiastic, open-minded, intelligent and incorrigibly romantic of travellers.”

Mail on Sunday

“Clare has produced an enthusiastic, often elegiac, chronicle of his encounters with the swallows”

Brian Schofield, The Sunday Times

“Clare is a gifted and lyrical travel writer, excellent at conveying atmospheres and good at making contact with all sorts of people ... a sensitive and intelligent observer”

Financial Times

“His eye for detail and his elegant pen give flavour of each country he crosses: great veldt and high plateaux, Congo's "green vastness", the "sandy seas" of the Sahel and, finally, the fertile plain of the north African coast”

The Economist

“The resulting book, travel writing at its very best, is enthralling, passionate, hair-raising, quirky, hilarious, informative, occasionally mad and utterly, utterly brilliant... irresistible stuff.”

Val Hennessy, Daily Mail

“Horatio Clare pays tribute to the extraordinary migratory journeys of the swallow...a book that combines travel with natural history.”

Claire Allfree, Metro, Shelf Space: Bird Books to Try

“It's graphically done, making me feel I was with him all the way”

The Sunday Telegraph, Seven Magazine

“Clare is engaging and makes a convincing case for the futility of borders”

Philip Womack, Daily Telegraph

“An exciting book, and often very moving”

Susan Hill, The Lady

“This is a book of rare lyrical beauty”

Brian Maye, Irish Times

“His descriptive prose is faultlessly evocative”

Daily Mail

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