A Place of Refuge
Why is it that the more advanced our society becomes, the unhappier we are?
Seeking an answer from the only honest perspective, Tobias Jones and his wife opened up their family home and ten acre woodland to those going through crises in their lives, or suffering from depression, addiction and loneliness.
They will encounter extraordinary people: from ‘Roadkill Kev’ to ‘Mary Poppins’; build a chapel, raise pigs and encounter both violent antagonism and astounding generosity. At the same time, they will open themselves, their children and their ideals up to the most demanding of judgements and transformations.
Five years on, they think they are on to something. To sit down to eat together, to work on the land, to have no tolerance for drugs but a lot of tolerance for change – it takes time and many mistakes, but they have found a way to help people.
This is the story of how.
A PLACE OF REFUGE was published on 2nd July 2015 by Quercus.
“This is no Hollywood-style tale of redemption and transformation. It is something much more honest: a warts-and-all account of what it is like to try a radically different way of living, and to not only survive, but have real triumphs . . . Thanks to Jones’s sense of humour the book rarely feels “worthy”, in the pejorative sense, despite the subject matter . . . Admirably erudite, charming and reflective . . . To read this book is to imagine, even if only briefly, that a different way of living might be possible.”
— Alice O’Keefe, Guardian
“Fascinating and remarkable . . . a study of compassion in action”
— Sunday Times
“ [I was] Amused and moved by this book . . . The Joneses’ desire to rescue lost people is both magnificent and astonishing”
— The Times
“Extremely gripping and moving . . . Often very funny . . . Jones writes beautifully about the changing seasons . . . Each night I looked forward to reading this book. Clearly there is something in our psychological make-up that longs to be part of an ‘extended household’, breaking bread with strangers. Or – at least – to experience it voyeuristically through the pages of a captivating memoir”
“There is much beauty in the story of Windsor Hill Wood, the rural idyll that Jones and Fra create together. He manages to take us with him into it . . . Jones is a sublime writer, who has the ability to bring tears to the eye”
— Daily Telegraph
“It’s a gentle meditation on a brave venture that leaves the reader uplifted and even a little enlightened”
— Press Association
“It is Jones’s humanity and gift for characterisation that make his book so captivating . . . His account rings with universal truths . . . A Place of Refuge asks difficult questions about how often mental illness is connected with the fact that ‘community’, as it’s currently understood, is delivered through a screen”
— Financial Times
“A wonderful book describing the bosky – sometimes bolshie – community he and his wife set up for allcomers: recovering alcoholics, addicts and anoxerics. It is written with the keenest eye for nature – human and leafy – and a wisdom learned the hard way (perhaps there is no other way)”
— Kate Kellaway, Observer