Grub Smith

Epping & Grinding

Out of the Woods

By

Weidenfeld & Nicolson 271pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

Some victims of abuse find comfort in therapy, while others seek consolation through drugs, but Luke Turner discovered a far more interesting way to slay his demons. Damaged by childhood predators and finding his life unspooling into disarray, he sought to reconnect with the woods in Essex where he grew up. The result is this odd and elegant work: a discursive blend of local history, nature writing and ‘misery memoir’.

Turner was brought up in a religious family. As a boy, he was molested by a series of men in public lavatories. His youth was further complicated by the realisation that he was bisexual. This causes his adult relationships with women to founder on ‘hardwired compulsions … demanding to be answered … to feel the naked press of a man on top of me’. The B part of LGBT is perhaps the least well represented in literature, and he provides some intelligent insights into the havoc it can wreak on ‘normal’ life, the most pertinent being that to stay true to their desires, bisexuals are compelled to be non-monogamous.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'Full of invention which, at its most pedestrian, is eminently Victorian, and at its most unrestrained wildly imagi… ,
    • 'What in other hands could have been a dry, pedantic account of Christianity’s birth and evolution becomes in Holla… ,
    • RT : One of my favourite literary magazines is celebrating 40 years this year. Here is the September edition of… ,
    • 'Now that the Thames is too fast-flowing to freeze, its spirit’s devotees ... have found other climes for their pri… ,
    • 'Bythell glowers past his till at a world in slow free fall.' on the travails of a second-hand book… ,
    • 'It is a scent of animal wrath, of instinctive need, of brutal life which affects the cultured nostrils of our civi… ,
    • 'The day produced countless stories of chance, of people taking one route or another without realising that the dec… ,