A review by Basak Tanulku, our friend and supporter from Istandbul

As a keen lover of the Lake District, when I saw the title of the book "I hate the Lake District" last year, I thought that I must read it. This title does not seem to target the reader who is interested in the Lake District and more broadly, nature and landscape writing. However, it is an exciting book to know about the untold aspects of the Lake District, which is an iconic landscape appraised for its natural beauty and cultural heritage. 


The book can be regarded as a road trip to the Lakes also extending to Cumbria, Lancashire and North Yorkshire. While doing this, Gere benefits from the ideas of important artists and philosophers, such as not surprisingly Wordsworth and Ruskin as well as Derrida, Foucault, Ehrenreich, Freud, Heidegger, Barthes, Nietzche, Deleuze and Guattari, Agamben, and Zizek. 


By positioning against the idea of a dual ecology in which nature and humans are opposites, Gere argues that nature and humans are not separate, nor there is a hierarchy between them. As a result, the stories from the Lake District depicted in the book should not be judged, instead accepted as part of nature, which is both good and bad, ugly and beautiful, dead and alive, human and non-human.  


Across the pages, the reader stops at fourteen sites: among them, there are Sellafield nuclear complex, Coniston Water as a site of death and murder mystery, and Brantwood, Brigflatts, Dentdale, Elterwater, and Grizedale, all associated with artists and their works.

There are also sites, which remind the reader that the Lake District has also been a landscape of the working classes, exploitation and even slavery. The Industrial Revolution left its marks on its famous landscape with country homes of the new rich who made fortunes out of these. Also, the book demonstrates how the Lake District and more broadly, Cumbria has been an ambivalent landscape: Hadrian's Wall was the border of the Roman Empire and is between England and Scotland now. 


Although the book might have benefitted from maps and photographs, it is highly recommended to those who want to read about the less-known features of this iconic landscape. 

Author: Charlie Gere

Goldsmiths Press
Unidentified Fictional Objects Series

ISBN: 9781912685110

Price: £12.99

(The information is from the website: https://www.gold.ac.uk/goldsmiths-press/publications/i-hate-the-lake-district/)