The Butterfly Isles | Granta

The Butterfly Isles

Patrick Barkham

Butterflies animate our summers but the fifty-nine species found in the British Isles can be surprisingly elusive. Some bask unseen at the top of trees in London parks; others lurk at the bottom of damp bogs in Scotland. A few survive for months, while other ephemeral creatures only fly for three days. Several are virtually extinct. This bewitching book charts Patrick Barkham’s quest to find each of them – from the Adonis Blue to the Dingy Skipper – in one unforgettable summer.

Wry, attentive, full of infectious delight and curiosity, written with a beautifully light touch, The Butterfly Isles is a classic of British nature writing.

  • Published: 03/05/2018
  • Paperback
  • ISBN: 9781783784585
  • 129x20mm, 304 pages

A beguiling book ... Barkham criss-crosses Britain, recording his search in a vivid, adept, unapologetic voice, wonderfully catching the spirit of these ethereal creatures

Richard Mabey, Guardian

This engaging and idiosyncratic account was not written for the experts ... Those of us who find it hard to identify any species beyond the Red Admiral , the Tortoiseshell, the Peacock and the Cabbage White will be astonished by the details of the teeming natural world that we so blindly inhabit

Margaret Drabble, Daily Telegraph

A delightful book ... Barkham writes with authority, love, charm, understatement and the dryest of wit. There are wonderful descriptive passages, moments of absurdity and frequent small epiphanies of wonder and awe, as he luxuriates in the glorious variety of butterfly life

The Spectator

The Author

Patrick Barkham is natural history writer for the Guardian. He is author of The Butterfly Isles, Badgerlands, Coastlines and Islander. His latest book is Wild Child. He lives in Norfolk with his family.

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