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Through a series of personal journeys, Dan Richards explores the appeal of far-flung outposts in mountains, tundra, forests, oceans, and deserts. Following a route from the Cairngorms of Scotland to the fire-watch lookouts of Washington State; from Iceland’s “Houses of Joy” to the Utah desert; frozen ghost towns in Svalbard to shrines in Japan; Roald Dahl’s writing hut to a lighthouse in the North Atlantic, Richards explores landscapes which have inspired writers, artists, and musicians, and asks: why are we drawn to wilderness? What can we do to protect them? And what does the future hold for outposts on the edge?
'There’s a special magic in Richards’ luminous descriptions of nature and place, but also in the stories he tells . . . Richards has penned a thoughtful and beautifully written meditation on our quest to find spaces in which we can find something unexpected in ourselves and forge a new relationship with the natural world'
'Richards' prose is by turns beautiful, funny, evocative and learned, the pages illuminated by lovely, warming footnotes . . . [Richards' voice is] vivid, self-deprecating, literary and very, very funny'
'Dan Richards is a wonderful storyteller, wise, wry and open-hearted, the perfect travelling companion. Outpost tells stories of emptiness, but is bursting with gorgeous life and language. It is a joy to read'
'Vivid, funny and moving – a wonderful stylist'
'Fascinating and funny'
'Dan Richards is brave, bold, pure of spirit and, on occasion, foolish. In Outpost Dan follows both his father’s footsteps and his own heart to explore the furthest possibilities of human habitation, and our interface with a changing wilderness. Intelligent, surreal and always generous, Dan Richards is a Jerome K. Jerome for our set-upon times who bequeaths us that rarest gift – laughter'
KATHARINE NORBURY, author of The Fish Ladder
'This book will be equally at home in the library of the armchair traveller and the kitbag of the weather-beaten nomad – Dan Richards has created an atlas of adventure for every reader possessed of an intrepid imagination'
NANCY CAMPBELL, author of The Library of Ice
'Dan Richards is that rare thing, a writer whose way of looking at the world is utterly unique . . . Outpost is shot through with a sense of wonder, an infectious enthusiasm and a surreal wit. Pure joy'
'An incredible book, beautifully written, wild and wickedly funny'
'Just my kind of book, stuffed full of telling oddities, strange encounters and lyricism. Richards brings to us the supreme joy, glory and terror of what it is to be truly isolated in the wild'
'Richards has all the attributes of a memorable travel writer. He is learned, inquisitive, fearless, occasionally foolhardy, determined, sensibly self-deprecating, thoughtful and, perhaps, most usefully, possessor of a dry wit and sharp sense of humour. The perfect armchair travelling companion . . . As well as being an erudite travel book, Outpost is also an adventure book, revelling in the joy of reaching far-flung destinations and the quiet fulfilment of self-exploration in an isolated environment. It’s funny, wise and humble . . . splendid'
Caught by the River
'Richards’ exquisite prose makes subtly serious points about the way we humans have tried to live in the world, and what we have done to it'
PHILIP HOARE, New Statesman, Books of the Year