Thunderstone: A True Story of Losing One Home and Discovering Another
By: Nancy Campbell
FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE WATERSTONES’ NON-FICTION BOOK OF THE MONTH: Fifty Words for Snow
Can a tiny caravan provide the space to rebuild a life?
‘Life-affirming, soul-shaking, heart-breaking… A book that reminds us what it means to be alive.’ Kerri ní Dochartaigh, author of Thin Places
‘It was believed lightning would not strike a house that held a thunderstone. And so these fossils were placed on top of clocks, under floorboards, over stable doors . . . But there are some storms that thunderstones cannot prevent.’
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. It is the first home she has ever owned.
As summer begins, Nancy embraces the challenge of how to live well in a space in which possessions and emotions often threaten to tumble – clearing industrial junk from the soil to help wild beauty flourish. But when illness and uncertainty loom once more, it is this van anchored in the woods, and the unconventional friendships forged off -grid, that will bring her solace and hope.
An intimate journal across the space of a defining summer, Thunderstone is celebration of the people and places that hold us when the storms gather; an invitation to approach life with imagination and to embrace change bravely.
‘In this beautiful memoir Campbell traces a season of upheaval, grief and uncertainty as she makes a home in an unusual place . . . An uplifting, heart-filled read full of hope and love.’ Lulah Ellender, author of Grounding
‘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… [Nancy Campbell] is wonderfully alert to every nuance of every experience, and writes with joyous precision about the summer she sees unfolding all around her.’ Scotsman
‘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, Spectator
‘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
‘A courageous, compassionate, uncanny chronicle of life and loss on the fringes. Striking in its candour, brilliant in its breadth, often very funny.’
- Dan Richards, author of Outpost