Under the Camelthorn Tree: The Impact of Trauma on One Family (Paperback)Kate Nicholls (author)
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Kate Nicholls left England to raise her five children in Botswana: an experience that would change each of their lives. Living on a shoestring in a lion conservation camp, Kate home-schools her family under a camelthorn tree while they also learn at first hand about the individual lives of wild lions. Their deep attachment to these magnificent animals is palpable.
This contemporary, gritty and humorous memoir explores the shocking impact of PTSD on a close-knit family, and their eventual recovery. It is a timely book that shines a light on an aspect of sexual crime that is often shrouded in shame: children of parents with PTSD can suffer collateral damage. The character-driven narrative moves effectively across time and place, revealing the gradual fragmentation of a strong woman. Kate Nicholls pulls no punches and her passion to act as advocate for the secondary victims of trauma is expressed in raw, unsentimental prose. She skilfully counterbalances this with amusing insight into family life. She explores the universal challenges of child-rearing with wit and engaging honesty, offering an unsanitised insight into raising a family in the African bush.
Kate Nicholls' tightly constructed narrative has received widespread praise and she made a much-acclaimed appearance at the Hay Festival with Jane Garvey in May 2019.
Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
Number of pages: 320
Weight: 220 g
Dimensions: 196 x 126 x 22 mm
An astonishing story ... Nicholls carries us through her experiences with a searing honesty that for me was hugely educational and deeply moving.
A life lived beyond the dreams of most of us. It's a real page-turner - Jeremy Irons
Bursting with humour, intelligence and fierce humanity, Under the Camelthorn Tree takes you on a breathtaking journey: anthropological and personal. It is an unflinchingly brave, generous book filled with the wisdom of one who has seen both the beauty and the darkness the world has to give - Sophie Dahl
A wonderfully rich and honest memoir of an extraordinary life by an extraordinary person. A book that somehow manages to be both charming and challenging, a bit like Africa herself. The writing is as light as a sonnet but it is the honesty that anchors it to reality - a special book - Tim Butcher
Under the Camelthorn Tree is remarkable, wild as a pride of lions -- heartbreaking, relentlessly truthful, funny. Kate Nicholls steps into life's beauties and hardships with a rare and extraordinary courage: you will love this book, and love Kate too - Erica Wagner, Harper's Bazaar
'Under The Camelthorn Tree is a breathtaking memoir written with an abundance of wit, honesty and love. Over the course of a page I found myself weeping, giggling, inspired, challenged, but never lectured to. Kate's humour is infectious, her honesty and vulnerability emboldening and her language precise in conjuring the sights, sounds and smells of her unique journey' - Harry Michell
A sort of Life Force personified, a whirlwind of love and motherhood and science; beautiful woman, brutally true, impossibly brave, impossibly stylish, just plain bloody impossible. Self-taught in science, this poet of the Okavango home-schooled - right through to good universities - four remarkable children in a remote camp surrounded by individually known, radio-tracked lions. After tirelessly working to rehabilitate Botswana's rape victims, her own horrific rape and its aftermath threatened to destroy her life and the family idyll but . . . well, read the whole beautiful book to the end. You'll never see another memoir like this -- Richard Dawkins
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“A must-read, haunting book”
A must-read, haunting book.
Kate Nicholls and her five young children, Emily, Travers, Angus, Maisie and Oakley (aged just eleven-months-old) moved to Botswana in 1994. As a biologist, Kate wanted to work with lions... More
A truly remarkable book. I wanted to share it with my whole family! It had me laughing and crying from the beginning and was impossible to put down. Unforgettable, it has changed me.
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