Thunderstone: Finding Shelter From the Storm

Thunderstone: Finding Shelter From the Storm

By: Nancy Campbell

ISBN: 9781783966998
eBook ISBN: 9781783966585
Cover: Paperback
Published: April 6, 2023
Size: 198x129mm
Page Count: 256



‘The most thoughtful and soothing book I’ve read this year.’ Daily Mail

‘There is just one object I want to carry inside the van… It was believed lightning would not strike a house that held a thunderstone. I place this fossil on the windowsill, its surface gleaming like cat’s eyes ahead of me on a dark road.’

In the wake of a traumatic lockdown, Nancy Campbell buys an old caravan and drives it into a strip of neglected woodland between a canal and railway. There is no plumbed water and no electricity point in the wilds beyond its eggshell walls.

As summer begins, Nancy embraces the challenge of how to live well in this unconventional place. But when illness and uncertainty loom once more, she must discover a way to hold on to beauty and wonder, to anchor herself in this safe space – her shelter from the storm.


‘A beautiful and often very funny account of hope and healing in the face of illness and uncertainty.’ TLS

‘How to find beauty and wonder even in the most trying of circumstances’ The Scotsman

‘An uplifting, heart-filled read full of hope and love.’ Lulah Ellender, author of Grounding

  • ‘Campbell’s memoir of the year she spent in that caravan is the most thoughtful and soothing book I’ve read this year’ 

    - Daily Mail
  • ‘A beautiful and often very funny account of hope and healing in the face of illness and uncertainty’ 

    - TLS
  • ‘This raw, honest account of semi-urban caravan life offers a valuable lesson in how to find beauty and wonder even in the most trying of circumstances […] she is wonderfully alert to every nuance of every experience, and writes with joyous precision about the summer she sees unfolding all around her.’ 

    - The Scotsman
  • ‘Hopeful, honest and lyrically written, a memoir which celebrates resilience in precarious times.’ 

    - The Simple Things
  • ‘A ‘many-splendoured book, which is at once an after-love, ever-loving letter to her ex; a real-time journal to keep herself company and emotionally intact; a worked-over piece of literary art (Campbell writes beautiful prose) and a rich newcomer to the latest and most exciting department of place writing.’ 

    - Horatio Clare, The Spectator
  • ‘The Fifty Words for Snow and The Library of Ice author digs deep into the elemental again, escaping lockdown by buying a caravan and finding hope in neglected woods’ 

    - i weekend
  • ‘One is swept along by the subtle, elegant prose and a narrative that is rich in literary references, sometimes carried away by poetic drift, yet overriddingly a visceral, energising sense of a life live well’ 

    - Country Life
  • ‘I’ve read Campbell’s work before – the gorgeous crystalline perfection of Fifty Words for Snow gave me tightly controlled, crisp prose delivered with scientific precision. Thunderstone is different. Campbell’s deft hand with language remains, but under the microscope now is herself, in raw and emotional detail. […] Campbell’s depiction of the canal community where her caravan resides is tender and warm’ 

    - Kate Blincoe, Resurgence & Ecologist
  • ‘I’m not sure I’ve ever encountered a writer who writes about these things as movingly, as gracefully — as beautifully — as Nancy Campbell.’ 

    - The Clearing
  • ‘I picked this book up to have a quick browse and two hours later wondered where the time had gone. Thunderstone is an honest and moving account of the author’s journey through a series of traumas, from the onset of the pandemic — coinciding with her partner’s stroke — to dealing with her own illness. This book is an uplifiting, positive and poetic look at life in all its rawness: a celebration of change, self-discovery, and off-grid life that is, quite simply, a pleasure to read.’ 

    - The Countryman
  • ‘I hope to thank Nancy Campbell for this book in person someday. For giving us this humbling, honest, raw & deeply moving book that reminds us what it means to be alive.’

    - Kerri ni Dochartaigh, Caught By the River
  • ‘An utterly beautiful, life affirming, soul shaking, heart-breaking wonder of a book. […] This is a humbling, honest, raw and deeply moving book that reminds us what it means to be alive.’

    - Kerri ní Dochartaigh, author of Thin Places
  • ‘An uplifting, heart-filled read full of hope and love.’ 

    - Lulah Ellender, author of Grounding: Finding Home in a Garden
  • Thunderstone goes well beyond mere memoir. Nancy is a badass, a wild woman corralling experiences of poetry, humanity and the natural world to shape visions of new ways forward for us all.’

    - Matthew Teller, journalist and author of Nine Quarters Of Jerusalem
  • ‘A courageous, compassionate, uncanny chronicle of life and loss on the fringes.’ 

    - Dan Richards, author of Outpost
  • ‘A memoir of great honesty and clarity, intimacy and subtlety… It asks profound questions about how to live through the storms of life with authenticity.’ 

    - Gavin Francis, author of Adventures in Human Being / Recovery: The Lost Art of Convalescence
  • ‘Any book by Nancy Campbell has to be worth reading.’ 

    - Dervla Murphy
  • ‘A writer of quiet strength, clarity and empathy, with a traveller’s eye for detail and the precision of a poet, Nancy Campbell is the wisest and kindest of guides through heartbreak and beyond.’ 

    - Nick Hunt, author of Outlandish: Walking Europe’s Unlikely Landscapes
  • ‘Humbling, humorous and exquisite.’ 

    - Sarah Thomas, author of The Raven's Nest
  • ‘If this is a story of grief and illness, loneliness and heartache, one is left with the feeling that here is a writer who knows better than most of us how to live.’ 

    - Helen Jukes, author of A Honeybee Heart Has Five Openings
  • ‘Nancy Campbell’s deep knowledge of art, nature and other cultures is completely transporting […] I couldn’t put it down.’ 

    - Tanya Shadrick, author of The Cure For Sleep
  • ‘Beginning with an elemental howl of grief, poet and explorer Nancy Campbell’s new book swiftly morphs into a handbook of post-disaster reconstruction, the building blocks of which are close observation, humour, and visceral engagement with the world around her.’ 

    - James Attlee, author of Under the Rainbow: Voices from Lockdown

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