Cider with Rosie
A re-issue of the evocative and nostalgic account of Lee's country childhood in a secluded Cotswold valley. Lee describes a vanished rural world of village schools and church outings but also touches on the darker side of village life as it comes into contact with murder, rape, suicide and depression.
Why read it?
3 authors picked Cider with Rosie as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?
In my book I talk about how many people miss out on the love they expect—the love of a mother, father, spouse, or child—and yet how most of us survive by finding the love we need elsewhere. In Cider with Rosie, Laurie’s father abandons his family, but Laurie’s mother shines: her frisks and gaieties, her fits of screams, her love of man. This is the childhood memoir of one of the great (somewhat unacknowledged) poets of the twentieth century.
In stark contrast to the gloom of depression-era Limerick, Cider with Rosie is a paean to the idyllic lost world of rural England at approximately the same time. Lee was a poet and his prose sings as he describes his family, “a sprawling, cumbersome, countrified brood” and the old people of the village, “…white-whiskered, gaitered, booted and bonneted, ancient-tongued last of their world.” Growing up in the west of Scotland, I knew nothing of Lee’s world and lived a young city life radically different from his, and yet his writing and imagery drew me so far in that I missed…
“I belong to that generation which saw, by chance, the end of a thousand years’ life… Myself, my family, my generation were born in a world of silence; a world of hard work and necessary patience…”
Reflecting on his childhood experiences in rural Gloucestershire in the years immediately after the First World War, Laurie Lee provides an elegiac account of a way of life which was soon to be swept away by the coming of electricity, second home-owners, tarmac roads, and the bric-a-brac of the modern world. It is a great, poetic love story too. When I read it…
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