We have updated our Privacy Policy Please take a moment to review it. By continuing to use this site, you agree to the terms of our updated Privacy Policy.

Burn

ebook / ISBN-13: 9781529370355

Price: £4.99

ON SALE: 28th April 2022

Genre: Literature & Literary Studies / Prose: Non-fiction

Disclosure: If you buy products using the retailer buttons above, we may earn a commission from the retailers you visit.

‘Lyrical, moving and never self-pitying… a lovely book’ THE TIMES

I came to the woods over a decade ago. I came to the woods because there was a fire in my head.

On the outside, Ben Short looks like he has it all – a successful career in advertising, a flat in a trendy area of London, an expensive motorbike … But inside, he’s a wreck. Years of suffering with an anxiety disorder and depression have broken him, and his ‘creative’ career has become sterile and suffocating. A drastic change is needed.

Like his neighbour’s rescue hawk, he acts on instinct and escapes the city. For a time, he takes on odd jobs – gardening, hedge-laying and labouring in the Cambridgeshire Fens and in the Devon countryside, trying to find somewhere he belongs. That is until he feels the call of the furnace: a glowing charcoal kiln in the West Dorset woods, where he can re-forge his thoughts, put the years of suffering behind him and start afresh by immersing himself in the ancient ways of woods and fire. He lives in huts and old wagons in the woods, hauling water from wells and foraging for his supper. But this is no idyll – the road is hard, the work back-breaking, the woods dark and brimming with powerful energies.

Exquisitely written and laced with folklore and the history of burning, the right way to lay a hedge and the age-old wisdom of the woods, Burn is a hopeful story of transformation, a celebration of manual work and craft, and a love letter to the English landscape.

‘Beautifully written, Burn is melancholy and hopeful in equal measure. Like taking a forest ramble in changeable weather, reading it leaves you feeling ruffled but alive.’ MAIL ON SUNDAY

What's Inside

Read More Read Less

Reviews

Lyrical, moving and never self-pitying . . . a lovely book.
The Times
Short's story is as much about work as it is escape and landscape; he illuminates the value of doing rather than thinking. Beautifully written, Burn is melancholy and hopeful in equal measure. Like taking a forest ramble in changeable weather, reading it leaves you feeling ruffled but alive
Mail on Sunday
In this candid memoir, [Ben] learns the benefits of living simply . . . above everything, Ben discovers the joys of risking everything in the search for personal happiness.
The Countryman
An intriguing, touching and beautifully written book, about how it feels to be in a dark place spiritually, to move into the woods but enter an increasingly lighter place, to be practising the ancient skills of coppicing and charcoal burning, to love a dog.
Ruth Pavey