The Way Through the Woods: On Mushrooms and Mourning

Spiegel & Grau. Jul. 2019. 320p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781984801036. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781984801043. NAT HIST
Upon the sudden death of her husband, Woon finds herself in an unfamiliar world, unsure of how to navigate her new reality, much like when she arrived in Norway as an exchange student from Malaysia many years prior. When the author enrolls in a course on mushroom hunting at the University of Oslo, she doesn’t expect it to be the light out of the darkness, but that’s just what it becomes. This thoughtful, touching account explores Woon’s experience learning mushroom foraging in the aftermath of tragedy. She learns not only how to identify the various edible, poisonous, and notorious mushrooms that grow in Norway’s forests (and city center), but also how to live again in her adopted home.
VERDICT With charming sketches of the various mushrooms Woon encounters, this moving memoir explores one woman’s journey through grief and will please fans of personal narratives as well as those who may be interested in mushroom foraging.
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