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Greystone Books Adult Spring 2022

How to Catch a Mole
Wisdom from a Life Lived in Nature
By (author): Marc Hamer
Marc Hamer


Greystone Books



Product Form:


Form detail:

Paperback , Trade


General Trade
Jun 14, 2022
$22.95 CAD


7.4in x 5.2 x 0.6 in | 200 gr


5 illustrations
Greystone Books
BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Environmentalists & Naturalists

In this evocative and heart-wrenching memoir, a hard-working Welsh molecatcher reveals his double life as a poet and a dreamer“A wonderful memoir … hands down the most charming book I read last year.”—Margaret Renkl, The New York Times

How to Catch a Mole is a small book of many things. In quiet, crystalline prose, it blends memoir, keen observations of nature, and ruminations about life, aging and death.”—Wall Street Journal

Kneeling in a muddy field in the Welsh countryside, clutching a creature that is soft and blue-black, Marc Hamer vows he will stop trapping moles—forever. In this earnest, understated, and sublime work of literary memoir, the molecatcher shares what led him to this strange career and what caused him to stop: from sleeping among hedges as a homeless teen, to toiling on the railway, to weeding windswept gardens in Wales and witnessing the beauty of every living thing.

Hamer infuses his wanderings with radiant poetry and stark, simple observations on nature’s oft-ignored details. He also reveals how to catch a mole—a craft long kept secret by its masters—and burrows into the unusual lives of his muses. Moles, we learn, are colorblind. Their blood holds unusual amounts of carbon dioxide. Their vast tunnel networks are intricate and deceptive. And, like Hamer, they work alone.

Beautifully written, life-affirming, and highly original, How to Catch a Mole offers a gorgeous portrait of one man's deep, unbreakable bond with his natural surroundings, and offers hope and inspiration for anyone looking to improve their relationship with the natural world.

  • International Sensation: Longlisted for the 2019 Wainwright Book Prize
  • One of The Washington Post’s 50 Most Notable Works of 2019
  • Awarded Best Book of 2019 by MacLean’sMagazine
  • Highly praised by both The Guardian and The Bookseller as the next H Is For Hawk
  • Greatly influential big media reviews featured in The Wall Street Journal, Publisher’s Weekly, and Booklist.
  • An Indie Next Great Pick: Collective list tied to the American Booksellers Association, boosting independent bookstore sales.
  • Almost 6000 hardcover copies have been sold in North America since publication in Fall 2019.
  • Marketplace trend of reconnecting with literature and the outdoors: A sublimely touching story of Marc Hammer and his appreciation for different forms of life and nature that will fill readers with warmth and admiration.
  • Attractive to the environmental book marketplace: Doesn’t push people into taking care of the spaces around them, but instead invites people to connect and re-evaluate their choices on a deeper, more personal level.
  • High-quality, short read: Can be read within one sitting, shares beautiful, tiny poems and illustrations within its prose.
  • Original text on an animal not commonly written or known about: Fascinating facts and insights into the work of mole catching and the bodies of the species, paired elegantly alongside a glimpse into the life of Marc Hamer.

Marc Hamer was born in the North of England and moved to Wales more than thirty years ago. After spending a period homeless, then working on the railway, he returned to education and studied fine art. He has worked in art galleries, marketing, graphic design, as a magazine editor and taught creative writing in a prison before becoming a gardener and mole-catcher.

  • Digital and print advertising.
  • Influencer outreach.
  • Social media campaign.
  • Independent bookstore outreach.

?We even come to identify with the elusive, fossorial animal, its plight not so different from our own.?
?Margaret Roach, The New York Times

?This is an extraordinary book: part natural history, part memoir, part poetry?all entirely gorgeous. I've read no other book like this. Its beauty and heartbreak will stay with me for a long time. PS: the author stops killing moles, thank goodness.?
?Sy Montgomery,New York Times bestselling author of How to Be a Good Creature and The Soul of an Octopus

?[Marc Hamer?s] wonderful book, How to Catch a Mole, is a beautiful, elegiac ode to a remarkable creature. Each page is filled with wonder, love, regret, humility and a sense of wonder (and oneness) with nature.?
?Washington Post

?Informative and effortlessly readable... Ultimately a reflection on humanity?s fraught but sustaining relationship with nature."
?Publishers Weekly

?How to Catch a Mole is a small book of many things. In quiet, crystalline prose, it blends memoir, keen observations of nature, and ruminations about life, aging and death.?
?Wall Street Journal

"Discovering Hamer?s nature writing par excellence is a godsend."
?Foreword Reviews

?Welsh molecatcher, gardener?and debut author?does not disappoint. How to Catch a Mole soars on the plain-spoken yet eloquent observations of its author and incorporates poetry and philosophy.?
?Toronto Star

?How to Catch a Mole is the best book I?ve read this decade. It will catch your breath and make your heart pound a little faster. It?s beyond precious.?

?This is a wonderful book about our relationship with the earth, with other animals and with our own troubled humanity. It has taught me a lot. I feel great love for it.?
?Max Porter, author of Grief Is the Thing with Feathers

?It is rare to encounter such respect and understanding of nature.?
?Rosamund Young, author of The Secret Life of Cows

?Marc Hamer's uplifting writings shed some light on the velvety creatures burrowing beneath our countryside.?
?National Geographic Traveller

?A beguiling mixture: part autobiography, part handbook, part travel book, part philosophical treatise. I?m happy to report that it succeeds on each level.?
?Daily Mail

?Marc tells his story and explores what moles, and a life in nature, can tell us about our own humanity and our search for contentment.?
?Sunday Express

?A lovely little book. I read it through, then found myself going back and reading parts again.?
?Lloyd Kahn, publisher and author of Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter

?Discovering Hamer?s nature writing par excellence is a godsend.?
?Foreword Reviews (Starred Review)

?Lessons learned from a life outdoors encourage the reader to dwell in the small, mostly ordinary but sometimes extraordinary, moments that make up an existence.?

?The dreamy lyricism of How to Catch a Mole recalls the memoirs of Laurie Lee, another wanderer through the British countryside who affirmed that life?s most vital moments often unfold in open spaces.?
?Christian Science Monitor

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