The Horizontal Oak
A Life in Nature
240 Pages, 5.5 x 8.65 in, 12pp color plates
- September 2022
- In Stock
Ever since her pet sheep Lulu accompanied her to school at the age of seven, animals and nature have been at the heart of Polly Pullar’s world. Growing up in a remote corner of the Scottish West Highlands, she roamed freely through the spectacular countryside and met her first otters, seals, eagles and wildcats.
But an otherwise idyllic childhood was marred by family secrets which ultimately turned to tragedy. Following the suicide of her alcoholic father and the deterioration of her relationship with her mother, as well as the break-up of her own marriage, Polly rebuilt her life, earning a reputation as a wildlife expert and rehabilitator, journalist and photographer.
This is her extraordinary, inspirational story. Written with compassion, humour and optimism, Polly reflects on how her love of the natural world has helped her find the strength to forgive and understand her parents, and to find an equilibrium.
In pages peppered with humour, empathy and kindness, Pullar revisits her pained past and the wild places and creatures that gave her succour' ~Sunday Post
Polly Pullar’s The Horizontal Oak takes the reader on an unforgettable journey proving that no matter what life throws at us there is the solace of a kestrel, the friendship of an oak - a way to turn to the healing and redemptive powers of the natural world through the most difficult of times. Witty and wise The Horizontal Oak is full of stories, secrets and solace' ~Jackie Kay
A remarkable, candid and fearlessly honest memoir, from the hugely talented Polly Pullar, peppered throughout with captivating details of nature in the wilds of Scotland.' ~Sue Lawrence
In The Horizontal Oak Polly Pullar skilfully and generously invites us into a life defined by a passion for wildlife and wild places, a life shaped by the addictions and loss of loved ones, a life full of compassion for the complexities of what it means to be human. The characters in this book are magnificent in all their flawed and colourful humanity. This deeply personal memoir is a treasure of insight, empathy and vulnerability, and the glorious people, animals and places within its pages will stay with you for a long time.' ~Leonie Charlton
Nature in all its guises and a delightfully dark sense of humour are the forces that unite to overwhelm the consequences of a chaotic parental regime in this extraordinary and occasionally eye-moistening autobiography. Naturalist, writer, photographer and wildlife healer Polly Pullar emerges as a force of nature herself, still nursing some of life’s wounds, still smiling at the benevolent moments, still laughing out loud at its jokes. Like the eight-year-old girl watching her aviary who told her, “You are so lucky to have owls in your ovaries”, thereby summing up the life and the remarkable woman herself.' ~Jim Crumley
The Horizontal Oak is a powerfully brave book, confident in its need to address hardship and face important truths. There’s no place for excessive sentimentality or exhibitionism here; even the most difficult strands of Polly’s story are handled with forthright resolve and a profoundly human warmth which reveal a rare blend of vulnerability and strength' ~Patrick Laurie
Pullar's style soars when she is describing wildlife and landscape. With its colourful and often comic vignettes of rural life, this memoir is reminiscent on occasions of Katharine Stewart’s A Croft in the Hills' ~Rosemary Goring, Herald
This is Polly's finest book to date. It's a beautifully written, lyrical and inspiring story, told with great honesty and compassion. Ultimately, it’s a positive, life-affirming lesson in how to turn even the most difficult of times into a force for good' ~Angela Gilchrist, The People’s Friend
A candid memoir' ~The Scotsman
This searingly honest memoir... is bravely written, warm, and ultimately, endearing' ~Kirsteen Bell, Oban Times
'A moving and funny autobiography, a very good read' ~Mark Avery
Pullar's memoir is raw and inspirational, showing readers that there is hope to be found, even in our most desolate moments' ~Scottish Field