A vivid journey around England's great seaside resorts, exploring their history and current struggle, and what they reveal about England, from the award-winning author of Love of Country.
"...a fascinating barometer of the state of the nation right now, in the wake of austerity, Brexit and Covid." - Travis Elborough England's seaside is made up of a striking variety of coastlines including cliffs, coves, pebbled shore, wide sandy beaches, salt marshes, and estuaries cutting deep inland. On these coastal edges England's great holiday resorts grew up, developed in the early eighteenth century originally as spas for medicinal bathing but soon morphing into places of pleasure, entertainment, fantasy and adventure. Acclaimed writer Madeleine Bunting journeyed clockwise around England from Scarborough to Blackpool to understand the enduring appeal of seaside towns, and what has happened to the golden sands, cold seas and donkey rides of childhood memory. Taking in some forty resorts, staying in hotels, caravans and holiday camps, she swims from their beaches and talks to their residents to delve into their landscapes, histories and contemporary plight.
A brilliant new book... It is a travelogue, an impressive work of social history, an affectionate celebration and much more besides. But a grim English irony burns through almost every page -- John Harris * Guardian *
A poignant picture of life on the edge of England -- Ysenda Maxtone Graham * Spectator *
Eloquent and detailed... Britain's island story has never seemed so pertinent * Financial Times *
[A] remarkable book, as bracing as a smack in the face by a stiff sea breeze, Madeleine Bunting tours the English coastline to discover what it reveals about the state of the nation today * Guardian *
This superb tour of the English coastline is compelling, sometimes exhilarating but also profoundly sad... Bunting's wonderful travelogue offers us a powerful - and deeply dispiriting - microcosm of the whole nation * Observer *
This was an epic journey... An ambitious, thorough and hugely readable investigation of this country's coastal fun-palaces * Mail on Sunday *
Beautifully written... Our intrepid author, it has to be said, embraces the Spartan version of the seaside... Her trip brings out her lyrical powers and salt-and-vinegar sharpness * Literary Review *
[The Seaside] is stuffed with statistics, scraps of conversation, longer interviews, literary allusion and potted history... Bunting is an engagingly dogged guide * TLS *
Bracing * Strong Words *
A fond exploration of our often conflicted relationship with the British beach resort. Its love for the institution is apparent and tender, but, rather like the country itself, Bunting also finds these locations to be divided and somewhat adrift. Her book makes for a fascinating barometer of the state of the nation right now, in the wake of austerity, Brexit and Covid -- Travis Elborough
I enjoyed this very much. We all have happy seaside memories , and even though Bunting, too, finds the reason for our resorts' decline in in the fact that they were beaten to the sunburned pound and Kiss Me Quick Hat by the Costa This or That, I'd very much like her to be taken at her word and employed to revive their fortunes. Gauleiter Bunting has an authentic whiff of whelk about it' -- Jeremy Paxman
[Bunting] reminds the reader of what it is like to be beside, or in, the sea * Country Life *
Dimensions: 234mm x 153mm x 28mm