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Tales of country folk

Books | By Charlotte Moore | July 2017


'The Village News' by Tom Fort reviewed by Charlotte Moore

Tom Fort likes villages. He grew up in one, and lives in another. He doesn’t claim to be a specialist in local history, ecology, domestic architecture or agrarian economy; he is an observer, who cycles about, looking and listening. The Village News presents a chatty, often amusing summary of his enquiries into twenty-odd English villages, toughened by affectionate common sense. The only thing I didn’t like was the subtitle, ‘The Truth Behind England’s Rural Idyll’. It implies a journalistic agenda which doesn’t match Fort’s wry and circumlocutory style. Those of us who live in villages are not, by and large, aware that we inhabit an ‘idyll’. We live in functioning communities which have adapted to the vast changes of the past hundred years with varying degrees of success. It’s heartening that Fort feels – as I do – that ‘the village as a model for communal living is simply too...

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