‘The way a person cuts and stacks wood can tell you a great deal about him,’ declares Lars Mytting in this improbable international bestseller – which is somewhat worrying to me as I survey the uncouth heap of beech in my ramshackle woodshed. My problem may be that I do not have the advantage of what he calls a ‘uniquely Nordic woodburning gene’. But at least I do have, and regularly use, a chainsaw, an axe and a chopping block, so I am consoled by his belief that producing wood for the fire ‘can be a godsend when the ability to do more complex tasks begins to decline’.
Mytting’s celebration of fire and wood has sold more than 200,000 copies in Scandinavia and has been translated into nearly a dozen languages. It taps deeply into that desire to commune with the outdoors, to do simple, productive physical labour and to provide directly for the home and the family.