The Way Through the Woods: Of Mushrooms and Mourning
Long Litt Woon
Original title: Stien tilbake til livet. Om sopp og sorg
Publisher: Vigmostad og Bjørke, 2017
Genre: Narrative Non Fiction
Pages: 300 pages
“It felt as if someone had slammed me with a huge sledgehammer…. Just a few hours ago we were a married couple…Now Eiolf was at the Emergency Ward at Ullevål Hospital. Dead and cold.”
The Way Through the Woods journies the story of the author’s life abruptly collapsing. In the midst of paralyzing grief, she stumbles upon the wondrous world of mushrooms and befriends the Mushroom Pickers, a tribe with their own unspoken rules and rites of passage. As she sets out on a voyage of discovery into the realm of fungi, she ventures along a parallel journey through an inner landscape of pain and sorrow.
Long takes the reader through this simultaneously funny and heartbreaking story. Her unusual, personal quest soon feels familiar; at it’s underlying core, it is a story of ordinary human experiences. We are introduced to mushrooms not only as food or poison but also their natural history and cultural significance. In the book, the author unveils how the combination of mushrooms and grief triggers fundamental changes in her life by creating new meaning and identity.
The author’s infectious enthusiasm for mushrooms is incredibly charming and told in a clear and strong narrative voice.
Danish: Don Max
German: btb Randomhouse
Dutch: AW Bruna
World – English: Scribe Publishing House
French: Gaïa Éditions
Catalan: Ara Llibres
Finnish: Nemo Kustannus
Japanese: Misuzu Shobo
Polish: Wydawnictwo Literackie
US: Spiegel & Grau Penguin Randomhouse
Latvian: Mansards Publishing
Russia: Ad Marginem
China: Commercial Press