At once a memoir and an ode to the outdoors, this collection of essays narrates how this molecatcher found his strange career: from sleeping among hedges as a homeless teen, to toiling on the railway, to weeding windswept gardens in Wales. It reveals not only how to catch a mole—a craft long kept secret by its masters—but also the seldom-seen and unusual lives of the author's muses.
Each page is filled with wonder, love, regret, humility and a sense of wonder (and oneness) with nature ... it’s first a fine work of nature writing ... it teaches us to look at the natural world anew, to develop eyes for the overlooked or the unseen. The book also delivers, via its furry central character, some useful life lessons ... Read Hamer’s wondrous book, then explore your yard. You won’t quite see it the same again.
Although Hamer doesn’t directly make the comparison himself, his quietly drawn observations on the conflicts between his ideals and his life invite readers to reflect on similar dilemmas in their own conduct ... As with a number of other naturalist solitaries—Thoreau, Henry Beston, Annie Dillard—Hamer’s reflections can resonate with a runic sensibility. Like many a writer conditioned by solitude, he’s not in the habit of chatty elaboration in formulating an argument. His sentences sometimes sound like those of a desert mystic ... Hamer includes some of his poems between chapters. He’s a much better prose writer than a poet, and the poems add little to the mix. His prose, deeply musical and lush with imagery, already offers the reader a kind of poetry by another name.
This charming memoir of a rambler-turned-mole-catcher speaks of the small wonders found in nature, the interdependence of life, and a smattering of mole facts for the mole-curious ... Poems are scattered throughout the book for a dreamy ambience, which is juxtaposed with the ever-present existence of its subterranean subject. Lessons learned from a life outdoors encourage the reader to dwell in the small, mostly ordinary but sometimes extraordinary, moments that make up an existence. The reader discovers how to catch a mole, but will question: Should they be caught?