‘I came to the woods over a decade ago. I came to the woods because there was a fire in my head.’
Ben Short’s Burn is a hopeful story of transformation, a celebration of manual work and craft, and a love letter to the English landscape.
On the outside, Ben Short looks like he has it all: a successful career in advertising, a flat in London, an expensive motorbike. But inside, he’s a wreck: a drastic change is needed. Like his neighbour’s rescue hawk, he acts on instinct and escapes the city. He feels the call of the furnace: a glowing charcoal kiln in the West Dorset woods where he can start afresh by immersing himself in the ancient ways of fire. He lives in huts and old wagons, hauling water from wells and foraging for his supper. 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 celebration of manual work.
‘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