Ben Goldsmith's God Is An Octopus is the best memoir I have read this year. In essence it is a portrait of overcoming grief through gratitude for life and the diversity of forms in the natural world. "In sorrow we must go, but not in despair. Behold! We are not bound forever to the circles of the world and beyond them is more than memory" J.R.R. Tolkien This quote sums up this gorgeous book in all its heartfelt angst and surrender.
Ben Goldsmith's life is detonated with the tragic death of his vibrant beloved 15 year old daughter Iris who upsides an all-terrain vehicle to devastating consequence on the family farm. In two minds whether to flee the farm Ben stays to face constant reminders and finds comfort and solace through a re-wilding project on the farm.
Iris relentlessly haunts Ben's memories in gorgeous scenes dancing to the Rolling Stones "Shes a Rainbow" and countless bold and beautiful vignettes, but ultimately even her passing is reconciled in natures miraculous unfolding. It is a privilege to share in both his grief and redemption. Beautifully written this is raw and urgent plea for recognition of what is of true value in life.
'Intensely readable, poetic, truthful, wise and wonderful.' STEPHEN FRY
'A message of beauty and optimism.' JOANNA LUMLEY
'Stunningly beautiful, immensely sad, immensely uplifting.' GEORGE MONBIOT
'A brilliant book.' DAVID WALLIAMS
'Extraordinarily powerful and moving... a book of universal wisdom.' BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH
'Beautiful and deeply moving.' ISABELLA TREE
'An extraordinary book.' SUNDAY TIMES
'Unfathomable tragedy chronicled with profound love and compassion.' RICHARD E. GRANT
'Emotive, raw and captivating.' BENEDICT MACDONALD
Struggling to comprehend the shocking death of his teenage daughter, Ben Goldsmith finds solace in nature by immersing himself in plans to rewild his farm.
In July 2019, Ben Goldsmith lost his fifteen-year-old daughter, Iris, in an accident on their family farm in Somerset. Iris's death left her family reeling.
Grasping for answers, Ben threw himself into searching for some ongoing trace of his beloved child, exploring ideas that until then had seemed too abstract to mean much to him. Missing his daughter terribly and struggling to imagine how he would face the rest of his life in the shadow of this loss, Ben found solace in nature, the object of a lifelong fascination. As Ben set about rewilding his farm, nature became a vital source of meaning and hope.
This book is the story of a year of soul-searching that followed a terrible loss. In an instant, Ben's world had turned dark. Yet, unbelievably to him, the seasons kept on turning, and as he immersed himself in the dramatic restoration of nature in the place where it happened, he found healing.
In God is an Octopus, Ben tells a powerful, immersive and inspiring story of finding comfort and strength in nature after suffering loss and despair.