‘A soaring gift of a book’ Owen Sheers ‘Remarkable’ Mark Vanhoenacker, author of Skyfaring ‘Stunning . . . a love letter to nature’ Cathy Rentzenbrink, author of The Last Act of Love The day she flew in a glider for the first time, Rebecca Loncraine fell in love. Months of gruelling treatment for breast cancer meant she had lost touch with the world around her, but in that engineless plane, soaring 3,000 feet over the landscape of her childhood, with only the rising thermals to take her higher and the birds to lead the way, she felt ready to face life again. And so Rebecca flew, travelling from her home in the Black Mountains of Wales to New Zealand’s Southern Alps and the Nepalese Himalayas as she chased her new-found passion: her need to soar with the birds, to push herself to the boundary of her own fear. Taking in the history of unpowered flight, and with extraordinary descriptions of flying in some of the world’s most dangerous and dramatic locations, Skybound is a nature memoir with a unique perspective; it is about the land we know and the sky we know so little of, it is about memory and self-discovery. Rebecca became ill again just as she was finishing Skybound, and she died in September 2016. Though her death is tragic, it does not change what Skybound is: a book full of hope. Deeply moving, thrilling and euphoric, Skybound is for anyone who has ever looked up and longed to take flight. Shortlisted for the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Award 2018.
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A profound, euphoric and courageous book about how to live joyously, and how to meet death . . . breathtaking . . . Her journey is as lyrical and complicated as the sky she describes, and her book is a shimmering parting gift to those still earthbound * Guardian * Skybound is a soaring gift of a book. A moving meditation on landscapes and the leaving of them, the freedom of travelling beyond our fears and how our journeys between the known and the unknown, the familiar and the unfamiliar can teach us to cherish and see again. -- Owen Sheers It's early for predictions, but I'm sure Rebecca Loncraine's Skybound is going to be one of my books of the year. It's a book that makes you look at the sky and the land with new eyes; that gives you a lift, in more ways than one . . . an extraordinary book . . . a celebration of wind and wings . . . we've lost a huge talent * Daily Telegraph * Stunning. Rebecca Loncraine is a beautiful writer and thinker and Skybound is so full of life - a love letter to nature and a hymn of love to the parental bond. -- Cathy Rentzenbrink, author of The Last Act of Love and A Manual for Heartache A valuable contribution to the literature of flight from a brave young pilot who will sadly never offer us another . . if Skybound is a manual for anything, it's for how to find lift on the Earth in the face of uncertainties . . . I won't soon forget her meditations on fear and flight, on home and family . . . 'Learning to fly,' she wrote, 'is like asking the universe . . . to let me go into the world to live and soar with joy and the possibility of death.' It seems safe to conclude that the universe agreed to Loncraine's request, and that in return it asked only that she leave us with this remarkable book -- Mark Vanhoenacker, author of Skyfaring * Spectator * If you're looking for beauty, love and courage, read this book -- Nicholas Crane Reading Skybound is the closest you will come to flying without sprouting wings. It is an astonishingly beautiful book, a record of a life that, although heartbreakingly short, was lived vividly and thrillingly and intensely. We must all strive to do what Rebecca undoubtedly did - honour the miracle of our existence. She has left the world with something brilliant and unique. -- Niall Griffiths, author of Grits As thoughtful and insightful as it is courageous and inspiring * Sunday Express * As much a biography of the air as it is a deeply moving memoir, this beautiful book transformed the way I see the sky. I learnt so much about how the air behaves, the physics of gliding. And Loncraine's affinity for the birds she observes and flies with shines through this fascinating, lovely book -- James Macdonald Lockhart, author of Raptor Skybound is a profound and exquisitely written witness to the author's flight and fear, wings and woundedness. Then it lifts into something beyond: the beautiful blue brilliance of her mind's sky -- Jay Griffiths, author of Wild: An Elemental Journey A life-affirming memoir * Radio Times * [Skybound] proves that one can soar above the fear of death both literally and in language of unsurpassed beauty . . . the book is about the sheer thrill of being part of the astonishing earth we have in common, written by an extraordinarily sensitive and gifted writer * Harvard Review * I have never read anything like it. A portrait of a young woman in love with the sky, painted from a palette of courage, honesty and moments of great beauty. -- Jim Crumley It's early for predictions, but I'm sure Rebecca Loncraine's Skybound is going to be one of my books of the year. It's a book that makes you look at the sky and the land with new eyes; that gives you a lift, in more ways than one . . . an extraordinary book . . . a celebration of wind and wings . . . we've lost a huge talent * The Daily Telegraph * An exquisite account of gliding in Wales, New Zealand and Nepal . . . To refer to this as a "cancer memoir" would be insufficient; must we not all contend somehow with this knowledge, though we may try to evade and forget? Skybound is an extraordinary, wise and deeply moving book. -- Joanna Kavenna * London Review of Books *
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