My fourth book is an exploration of landscapes that should not be there, wildernesses found in Europe yet seemingly belonging to far-off continents: a patch of Arctic tundra in Scotland; the continent’s largest surviving remnant of primeval forest in Poland and Belarus; Europe’s only true desert in Spain; and the fathomless grassland steppes of Hungary.
From snow-capped mountain range to dense green forest, desert ravines to threadbare, yellow open grassland, these anomalies transport us to faraway regions of the world. Against the rapid climate breakdown of deserts, steppes and primeval jungles across the world, this book discovers the outlandish environments so much closer to home – along with their abundant wildlife: reindeer; bison; ibex; wolves and herds of wild horses.
Blending travel writing, nature writing and history – by way of Paleolithic cave art, reindeer nomads, desert wanderers, shamans, Slavic forest gods, European bison, Wild West fantasists, eco-activists, horseback archers, Big Grey Men and other unlikely spirits of place – these desolate and rich environments show us that the strange has always been near.
Nick Hunt’s bold exploration of our hidden continent makes you fall in wonder with the Earth again. Passionate, learned, surprising and revelatory, this is a journey for our times - into ‘places of power’ beyond human influence, where timelines get tangled like the last of the ancient forests
– Kapka Kassabova
Nick Hunt is splendid company: kind, acute and wise, with an unerring eye for eloquent detail and a philosopher’s view of the big picture. Don’t miss this walk with him through portals you’d never stumble across yourself, and on into the thrilling surprise of a wholly improbable Europe
– Charles Foster
A reckoning with what has been squandered, and with an environmental future that often seems too horrifying to face. As strange and haunting as anything in the recent literature of place
– William Atkins
Vivid, moving, profound and sometimes very funny … Outlandish is a truly stunning work of non-fiction and an important addition to writing that explores the deep connections between our selves and our place on Earth
– Joanna Pocock
A wise and beautiful book, glowing with atmosphere and passion for the world that’s slipping between our careless fingers, Nick Hunt’s Outlandish shines a light on Europe’s past and offers an eerie glance towards its future
– Nick Jubber