Smoke Hole: Looking to the Wild in the Time of the Spyglass


At a time when we are all confronted by not one, but many crossroads in our modern lives – identity, technology, trust, love, politics and a global pandemic – celebrated mythologist and wilderness guide Martin Shaw delivers Smoke Hole: three metaphors to help us understand our world, one that is assailed by the seductive promises of social media and shadowed by a health crisis that has brought loneliness and isolation to an all-time high. We are losing our sense of direction, our sense of self. We have “networks”, not communities.

Smoke Hole is a passionate call to arms and an invitation to use these stories to face the complexities of contemporary life, from fake news, parenthood, climate crises, addictive technology and more.

Martin asks that we journey together, and let these stories be our allies, that we breathe deeper, feel steadier and become acquainted with rapture. He writes, ‘It is not good to be walking through these times without a story or three by your side.’

Listen to the Smoke Hole Sessions!

Author and master storyteller Martin Shaw brings us the Smoke Hole Sessions – a series of vital conversations with inspirational people, in the hope that in the crackle of the thinking, the fire of the language, the visioning and the wildness of the exchanges, we may find breadcrumbs that lead us out of the forest again, and into a deeper life.


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Hardcover. Chelsea Green Publishing.

Praise for Smoke Hole

“Ontological dynamite…a rare kind of modern-day bard.” 

Felix Marquardt, author of  The New Nomads

“Through feral tales and poetic exegesis, Martin Shaw makes you re-see the world, as a place of adventure and of initiation, as perfect home and as perfectly other. What a gift.”

David Keenan, author of Xstabeth

“When I started reading Smoke Hole, I noticed the hair on my body growing faster. Midway, my fingernails needed to be clipped sooner. By the end, my voice had dipped from a Barry Gibb falsetto to a Barry White baritone. If you dare… read with care.”

John Densmore, The Doors

Additional information

Weight 0.294 kg
Dimensions 20 × 13 × 1.6 cm


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