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Far Away and Long Ago

W. H. Hudson

Book Overview: 

William Henry Hudson was an author, naturalist and ornithologist. Hudson was born of U.S. parents living in the Quilmes Partido in Buenos Aires Province, Argentina, where he spent his youth studying the local flora and fauna and observing both natural and human dramas on what was then a lawless frontier. ‘Far Away and Long Ago’ is a classic memoir of a boy, fascinated by nature, on the Pampas in the 19th century.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .ere, and during the heaviest rain the birds would sit here in their thousands, pouring out a continuous torrent of song, which resembled the noise produced by thousands of starlings at roosting-time, but was louder and differed somewhat in character owing to the peculiar song of the cow-bird, which begins with hollow guttural sounds, followed by a burst of loud clear ringing notes.

These concert-singers, the little green and yellow field finch and the purple cow-bird, were with us all the year round, with many others which it would take a whole chapter to tell of. When, in July and August, I watched for the coming spring, it was the migrants, the birds that came annually to us from the far north, that chiefly attracted me. Before their arrival the bloom was gone from the peach trees, and the choir of countless little finches broken up and scattered all over the plain. Then the opening leaves were watched, and after the willows the first and best-loved were the popl. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Other reviewers have spoken about the joy of hearing the voice of a young man who would later become a botanist.

I enjoyed the book, which is essentially a collection of connected vignettes, reading about a boy who had an even more "feral" upbringing than my own, lying somewhere near Huck Finn ter...more

It's a little difficult to expand on my title for this review.

The author suffered an acute illness in later life and, during this time, his childhood memories came back to him with a clarity that is a cause of envy for those of us with the usual hotch potch of muddied memories of our best times.


The strangeness of the world is never-ending, particularly in the memoirs of those who have long ago left us. Hudson evokes a bird-world in South America that even he laments as lost, from his burrow in the smokey London of his exile. He knew what was happening in his homeland, the spread of effi...more

Toen ik jong was en de dieren nog spraken, was er een programma op de radio dat Het Einde van de Wereld heette. Het ging over Patagonië, maar niet echt. Elke zondagavond voerde programmamaker Dree Peeremans zijn luisteraars mee naar nergensland, naar het imaginaire uiteinde van de wereld dat over...more

Pocos libros me conmovieron tanto como este.

This book is the memoir of the author while living in the argentinian field. I've been drawn to read this, because of the birds (Hudson loved birds and is always describing them). I also liked how everyday life is portrayed - and I loved that they ate lamb with peaches in conserve. I would really...more

¿Es posible mantener fresco en la memoria el asombro y la fascinación que sentimos, siendo niños, la primera vez que vimos un flamenco? ¿Y el miedo reverencial cuando, por vez primera, contemplamos una serpiente? Guillermo Hudson relata con mirada de niño y de sabio (la misma mirada, realmente) s...more

Wonderful book.
I didn't rate it four stars because of a curious reticence on the author's part about his own family--in a memoir of his childhood. Although he tells us the names of neighbors, their personalities and biographies, he never tells us the names of his brothers and sisters, and doesn'...more

The author grew up in Argentina in the late 1800's and he describes a fantastical natural world, at least to those of us who grew up in the tame North American forests. The ostriches, the vaqueros, the cattle, the birds. As a boy he falls in love with birds and, although he studies and appreciate...more

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