Keiron Pim

In a dark forest

Part-history, part-memoir, Strange Labyrinth is also a fine cultural guide to the vast, wooded ‘shadow of London’

In his mid-forties Will Ashon realised he was adrift and confused, confronted by the situation Dante described in the Divine Comedy: ‘In the middle of our life’s path/ I found myself in a dark forest.’

Ashon’s dark forest was metaphorical to begin with — conscious of ageing, dis-satisfied with his career in the music industry, wondering where to turn — but it became literal as he sought answers by exploring Epping Forest, the vast ‘shadow of London’ near his home in Walthamstow.

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