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Fiction Nature & The Environment

Followed by the Lark

A Novel

by (author) Helen Humphreys

HarperCollins Canada
Initial publish date
Feb 2024
Nature & the Environment, Biographical, Historical
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Feb 2024
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2024
    List Price

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Inspired by his journals and writing, this moving novel inhabits the life and mind of renowned nineteenth-century naturalist, poet and abolitionist Henry David Thoreau, revealing the deep connections between his time and our own.

Composed in short, compelling scenes, Followed by the Lark is a novel of significant moments in a life, capturing loss, change and the danger and healing that come from communion with the natural world, set against a backdrop of great change and tumult in America.

Renowned nineteenth-century naturalist, poet and abolitionist Henry David Thoreau’s connection to nature was tied to his feelings of loss; before he was twenty-seven years old and went to live at Walden Pond, two of those closest to him had died—his older brother, John, and his friend Charles Wheeler. Nature provided solace for these losses, but the world was changing around him. The forests were being destroyed by the logging industry. Wildlife was increasingly being slaughtered for profit and sport. The railroad clanged through his quiet hometown. And the catastrophes of the American Civil War were beginning to stir. Haunting in its quiet spaces, Followed by the Lark portrays this tension of nature and progress and its effect on a singular man. It is a novel uncommon in its combination of scope and brevity, in its communion with its human subject, and its reflections on an astonishing yet changing world.

Thoreau’s life in the early nineteenth century seems firmly in the past, but his time bears some striking similarities to ours. As she explores these intersections in Followed by the Lark, Helen Humphreys elegantly, insistently illustrates how Thoreau’s concerns are still, vitally, our own.

About the author

HELEN HUMPHREYS’ last novel, The Reinvention Of Love, was a national bestseller. Coventry was a New York Times Editors’ Choice, a Globe and Mail Best Book of the Year and a finalist for the Trillium Book Award. Humphreys won the Rogers Writers’ Trust Prize for Afterimage and the Toronto Book Award for Leaving Earth. Her much-loved novel The Lost Garden was a Canada Reads selection. The recipient of the Harbourfront Festival Prize for literary excellence, Humphreys lives in Kingston, Ontario.


Helen Humphreys' profile page