Reflecting on family, identity and nature, Belonging is a personal memoir about what it is to have and make a home. It is a love letter to nature, especially the northern landscapes of Scotland and the Scots pinewoods of Abernethy – home to standing dead trees known as snags, which support the overall health of the forest.
Belonging is a book about how we are held in thrall to elements of our past. It speaks to the importance of attention and reflection, and will encourage us all to look and observe and ask questions of ourselves. Beautifully written and featuring Amanda Thomson's artwork and photography throughout, it explores how place, language and family shape us and make us who we are.
Amanda Thomson is a Scottish writer and visual artist, and a lecturer at the Glasgow School of Art. Her first book, A Scots Dictionary of Nature, was published in 2018. She has spoken at many book festivals and had her work published in Antlers of Water, Willowherb Review, The Wild Isles, Gifts of Gravity and Light and the Guardian. She lives and works in Strathspey in the Scottish Highlands and Glasgow.
– Robert Macfarlane
"A beautifully written meditation on rural surroundings and her place within them"
– Sunday Times
"Amanda Thomson's new book manages to carve out a distinctive niche for itself [...] This is a passionate book and infused with a sense of rootedness"
– Stuart Kelly, The Scotsman
"In recent years rural landscapes have turned into battlegrounds, and nature writing has become increasingly polemical. Belonging is a quiet book of questions in a genre full of answers, but it is all the more powerful and beautiful for this"
– Patrick Galbraith, TLS
"One of the best things I have read in ages [...] Quiet and beautiful and powerful"
– Alys Fowler
"Thomson writes of the natural in a way I have yet to encounter before. There is no real hoo-haa, no flowery description of which to speak yet somehow, I came away with that ache inside me – that renewed obsession with the world that is only borne of a very particular kind of writing – poetic, loving, raw [...] Like no other"
– Kerri Ní Dochartaigh, Caught by the River
"I rather enjoyed Amanda's very personal history interweaving ideas of family, place, history and nature. I was left feeling that she is the sort of person that I would love to spend an evening engaged in conversation with"
– David Lindo, The Urban Birde
r"Whether writing about nature, about family, about art, or about identity, Amanda Thomson brings a careful and a thoughtful attention to the page. She shows how the threads of a life – its passions and preoccupations – are intricately entangled, each illuminating and complicating the other"
– Malachy Tallack
"A book that digs deep [...] Vivid"
"In belonging, Thomson invites us to think about what living with the land really means: not just beautiful and wild places, but cities, suburbs, old houses, the places that shape us in childhood and beyond, too. This is an evocative, intimate journey through the ways we find home – in family, place, history and language"
– Jessica J. Lee