'As I study the birds, animals and plants around me, I cannot help but see the patterns all living things seem driven to create.'
Declan Murphy's first encounter with a Kingfisher as a young boy was unforgettable. Returning to the river years later, he embarks on a quest to study this most brightly-coloured bird during its nesting season, a seemingly straightforward challenge.
But the river is slow to reveal the habits and secrets of its residents. Dippers, Goosanders, Grey Wagtails and Great Spotted Woodpeckers all yield their hidden habits to the author's patient and relentless pursuit; yet the Kingfisher continues to elude him.
Yet the author's retreat into the natural world is not simply for the sake of knowledge: nature is his remedy for managing the world around him. Since childhood, nature has provided balance, solace and direction. As the search for the Kingfisher reaches its culmination, these two spheres, the author's and the others', suddenly and unexpectedly collide. The realm without and the realm within conflict, forcing him to confront how he sees the world, leading to a resolution where balance is restored through the power and intervention of nature.
Writing with hallucinatory clarity and singular powers of observation, he brings the beauty and mystery of the animal kingdom to light. His quest becomes the reader's in the unfolding drama of his search for harmony and knowledge from mythography to an acute awareness of people's fragility.
Praise for Spirit of the River
'Wonderful and beautifully written. This close observation of Nature's abundance and glory has about it the sadness of loss, that death and destruction lie in wait. Yet the Kingfisher leads you to your quest for harmony and knowledge.' JOHN BOORMAN
'We are lulled by the beauty and serenity of the river as much as crystalline prose and singular focus.' ALAN GILSENAN