celebrates places where the nourishing values of literature survive; places where the technological revolution and celebrity culture fails to intrude upon enduring and deeply felt human values. Though by no means a reactionary tract for the time, it is not afraid to mourn the loss of value and meaning, to lyricise the enduring, to turn away from the default modern poses of irony and fatalism. It also contains several meditations on the writer's childhood, assenting to Auden's dictum on the key shaping of the adult by the things to which one's love is firstly and voluntarily drawn. Above all, Downshifting
seeks to sing all its tunes with a light touch, to eschew the po-faced, the solemn, the overwrought and obscure.