Benjamin Myers lives quite literally in the shadow of Scout Rock, Mytholmroyd, in the steep and narrow Upper Calder Valley. I live on the opposite, sunnier side of the valley. I know Ben, and I love the area, so there was never any chance I wouldn’t enjoy this book. Personal biases aside, it’s damn good.
But how to describe it?
Under the Rock is about immersing oneself in a landscape, in a community. It’s about woodland and millstone grit. Trespassing and wild swimming. Dump-scavenging and guerrilla wood-piling. It’s about the winter blues. Poetry and prose. Weather and walking. Floods and landslides. Moss and mud. History and counter-culture. It’s about Northernness. It’s about reservoirs and dams. Native and offcumden species. It’s about asbestosis and mass-murder. It’s about Jimmy Savile. Throbbing Gristle. Heathcliff the dog. Ted and Sylvia. (Hughes and Plath.)
It’s about 360 pages.
It’s about bloody time you read it.