Book Review: Strange Labyrinth by Will Ashon

A straggling vision quest. A confessional. A defense of dis-order and living life on frayed edges. Will Ashon, a self-proclaimed and self depreciating urban coward, has left the building and stepped outside into the invisible forest on his doorstep. In the scruffy patchwork of Epping Forest he creates a delirious fiction. If you go down in the woods today… The forest is stories. The forest is a retreat, a den, a shelter for solitaries or mercenaries, edgy radicals and strong women, a utopia and asylum. The forest is an epicenter of erasure. Jauntily written and thoroughly research, this is narrative of glorious failures. You might not find any answers to 21st C angst in this generous melting pot of a book, but Ashon does re-emerge with an optimistic manifesto for acceptance to help deal with the thorny realities of mind and life.

We can decide to run from it, marching out following a straight line. We can attempt to raze it to the ground and replant it in the hope that we will make it more productive. Or we can try to get to know the terrain better, appreciate its oddities, its uniqueness, to get a feel for our own strange and boring, beautiful and ugly, our enclosed and unenclosable life.” p341 



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