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Review: “Beat. Travels in the British Isles” by Eric Anderson

Review: “Beat. Travels in the British Isles” by Eric Anderson

True writers know that love stories must be told with caution. You don’t write: “I loved her.” The relationship has to be shaped in some way. Fortunately, that will be the case this time as well. Very soon the reader understands the love of Erik Anderson, where he is sitting in his rental car on the flat moors of East Anglia with a GPS woman as his only company. He first came there in 1980, then with someone named Lotta. He might have loved her too.

However, there won’t be that much swamp because nowadays everything is dug up and cultivated, but it’s flat. Without a good map or GPS, you can easily get lost. Anderson is careful with the maps during his British travels, that they should be very detailed to include the inns and inns of the village caves. Many went bankrupt during the epidemic, but the book “Dorve” tells of many trips before that. At a place in North Yorkshire, the teacher orders rabbit stew.

“- Are they local rabbits, I asked.

– No, they’re from Howes.

Howes was a few kilometers to the northeast.

Yes, Erik Anderson’s flâneur prose is similar. I don’t know any Swedish writer who is as consistently good-natured as he. Perhaps his long-term outlook had something to do with it. Here there is nothing for a few thousand years or so for a man with Anderson’s cultural historical interests. The stone buildings that no one knows what they were used for anymore also belong to the language. Pete too. It grows by one millimeter per year. All it takes is time and mild weather.

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In four short essays and one long essay, the author explores Great Britain and Ireland in search of wastelands and rock piles of all kinds. Words denoting various disturbances – moor, fen and so on – are explored on the spot with many literary digressions, and I learn a lot when it comes to stone structures. For example, on the Isle of Skye in Scotland, there are so many hilltop castles that Samuel Johnson couldn’t fathom in his time.

Andersen recalls the ancient Swedish burgers, which probably weren’t burgers at all, but… well, so what? At one point, he launched a brilliant theory that all these stone buildings, from Stonehenge to the earliest churches in Västerkotland, were actually a form of socialization. People are always looking at each other for social reasons, and when you look at each other you have to take care of something. Pulling stones together is probably the best thing you can come up with. why not “You rarely accurately reflect everything you don’t know.”

“Beat”, it seems to me, may also be interesting for enthusiasts in the “restore wetlands” network.

“Torv” offers a lot in that regard. Tales of Doggerland, the problems of porpoises’ family life, and how chess pieces called runners represent elephants in ancient Indian times. Via Arab traders, the game eventually came to the British Isles, but elephants were later replaced by bishops. Totally reasonable when you think about it. In England and Iceland runners are still called bishops. Harris Tweed is named because Harris has linguistic roots in the Northland region from the Gaelic Herd.

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This is a book that can be read at least twice. By the way, in the translation of Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings”, which was called “The Lord of the Rings”, the only word that the author regrets that he did not smuggle is the word district. The shire should become a county. Only now does he understand that the correct word is Häradet.

“Beat”, it seems to me, may also be interesting for enthusiasts in the “restore wetlands” network. And on reflection, this would be a one-page read for recreational anarchists sitting on some country lane with climate stickers on their tails.

In the afterword, Anderson says, a good essayist doesn’t say too much. The reader should want to know more. In passing he also mentions the Burren in County Clare on the west coast of Ireland. Hmm. Burren? A brief signal in my memory, not unlike the ping of a microwave oven: Didn’t I fall madly in love with someone who once settled there?

I read a map of Clare on the computer, rattled off the name Listoonvarna and read a little casually about the area’s strange rock formations. That’s when it happened. A small note – Nilsson’s small bulb beetle (Ochthebius nilssoni) has been found on the spot. A global sensation! This thing kept me busy all day.

As Erik Andersen continues to write at GB, we asked author, translator and biologist Fredrik Sjöberg to review the book.

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GP’s culture editorial team guides you through the week’s gossip, events and cultural life in Gothenburg.

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