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  • Homesick

  • Why I Live in a Shed
  • By: Catrina Davies
  • Narrated by: Catrina Davies
  • Length: 7 hrs and 28 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (303 ratings)

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Homesick

By: Catrina Davies
Narrated by: Catrina Davies
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Summary

The story of a personal housing crisis that led to a discovery of the true value of home.

Aged 31, Catrina Davies was renting a box-room in a house in Bristol, which she shared with four other adults and a child. Working several jobs and never knowing if she could make the rent, she felt like she was breaking apart.

Homesick for the landscape of her childhood, in the far west of Cornwall, Catrina decides to give up the box-room and face her demons. As a child, she saw her family and their security torn apart; now, she resolves to make a tiny, dilapidated shed a home of her own.

With the freedom to write, surf and make music, Catrina rebuilds the shed and, piece by piece, her own sense of self. On the border of civilisation and wilderness, between the woods and the sea, she discovers the true value of home, while trying to find her place in a fragile natural world.

This is the story of a personal housing crisis and a country-wide one, grappling with class, economics, mental health and nature. It shows how housing can trap us or set us free, and what it means to feel at home. This audio edition includes music by Catrina Davies.

©2019 Catrina Davies (P)2019 Quercus Editions Limited

Critic reviews

"You will marvel at the beauty of this book, and rage at the injustice it reveals." (George Monbiot)

"Incredibly moving. To find peace and a sense of home after a life so profoundly affected by the housing crisis, is truly inspirational." (Raynor Winn, best-selling author of The Salt Path)

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What listeners say about Homesick

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Very interesting

Covers a range of human traits both good and bad. The vindictive jealousy and selfish destruction/theft is compensated by the actions of others, most notably her sister.

The politics is interesting. She seems against people who become wealthy through the luck of inheritance but doesn't dwell too much on the luck of genetics that allows her to go to Cambridge and become a published author. She is for nature and against pesticides but poisons rats/mice. Anti enclosure except for her own shed. I have similar contradictions in my 'principles'. In my experience all of us are hypocrites and contradictory to varying degrees.

Personally I think the housing issue and environment issue has more to do with the fact we keep increasing the human population but the planet remains the same size. Building more and more houses is only possible up to the point we run out of land/the eco system collapses. Turning all the second homes over to become primary residences will help for one, maybe two generations but then what? It is still only a short to medium term solution. Land tax and less inequality are fine objectives though. Overall I enjoyed this book and like the author.

13 people found this helpful

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Very mixed response

Beautifully phrased and with many well put thoughts on economy and the widening gap between the haves and have-nots and how housing becomes central to a life. On the other hand rather self-indulgent and judgemental in her approach to work. She has help from other people every step of the way and her father owns the property the shed stands on. This more than anything makes her choices possible. The "mindless drudgery" that she wants to avoid in favour of surfing and writing songs is meaningful employment to many of us without her advantages that she seems to take for granted, such as a university degree.

8 people found this helpful

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beautiful and heartbreaking

Definitely one to listen to. Catrina's words are poetic and beautiful even when tinged with such a sad story at times. The songs really make the recording something special. loved it!

4 people found this helpful

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Great book and very relatable

Catrina perfectly articulates the feeling of rootlessness and insurmountable odds against home ownership in this country. I found this book very inspiring, because I spend much of my time trying to think my way out of the problem and get nowhere, whereas Catrina is someone who is living it, who is braver than many of us, and fought not to give up her freedom. It brings to mind the saying 'be the change you want to see in the world.' She did not compromise, as so many of us do.
Reading this book on one hand made me angry at the situation in the UK, especially when thinking about the rights we used to have to make a living off the land. The land does and should belong to all of us, and yet it does not.
On the other hand, this book gives me hope, because I feel its on the edge of a tide of voices yet to come. As more and more people especially the younger generation grow up to see the odds stacked against them, its only a matter of time before the wave has to break.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

UK housing crisis, human cost thoughtfully exposed

Having seen Catrina interviewed on TV about her new book I was glad when it was published on Audiobooks especially with the author as narrator. Catrina telling her story makes such a big difference in communicating her inner self, feelings, hopes and fears.
It is a a fascinating read, both on the personal level and the well researched and described state in which our society is split over the housing divide. This book should resonate with everyone as to what has happened and the sad consequences.
For me the book had a strong ending and conclusion.
Although the author is obviously gifted and thus her writing involves the reader, especially her personal story, I did almost give up a third way through - I'm glad I didn't! - as at times I felt she almost strayed over the line of communicating a genuine grievance into a "chip on the shoulder" commentary. Some comments and quotes also sounded a bit "hippie-ish" and her view of christianity sounded a bit dogmatic, as if her childhood experience blinded her to what is good about our faith.
Genuine story though told with sincerity. Let's hope this book will prove to be an effective challenge to us - Our Society - to help put right the structural injustices which are doing much harm.

2 people found this helpful

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Real simple living

I loved this book, because it shows the reality of the simple life that so many aspire to yet Catrina was doing it because she had to, it was all her nature allowed her to do. There were so many moments in it where I felt recognised - she said she read Walden and felt that someone was voicing her thoughts, and I felt the same about her words. It’s not just about living in a shed but about work patterns, and homelessness, and life really. About how it’s stacked against some people and about how for some people that’s ok, they don’t need to play the game of materialism or status. I’m going to buy a paper copy to read again and mark up, but I’m very glad I listened to the audio version in Catrina’s own voice.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Inspirational

It feels wrong to describe the searingly honest account of someone re-building their life on very stark terms as 'inspirational' but the way Catrina describes her journey, and the things she learned about herself and the world we live in is nothing less than inspiring. Candid about her often crippling fears and anxieties, yet resolutely brave and determined to have the freedom to really live her own life, Catrina offers a model for a different kind of existence - unshackled from the trappings of our very consumerist society. The book really struck a chord, as I'm sure it will with many others of a similar age tapped behind a desk or 'living' in a barely affordable rented beige box of a house. It's a meditation on what it means to find a 'home' and a blueprint for starting out towards that goal by changing the way you think about everything; from freedom to wealth. Her words and musings will stay with me for a very long time, I hope one day they may even lead me 'home'.

1 person found this helpful

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Enjoying and insightful definitely full of heart.

Enjoying and insightful definitely full of heart. i listend to it very quickly. I admire the strength and conviction of the author. The musical and atmospheric sounds really added the the novel. I hope she is still enjoying her shedlife in Cornwall.

1 person found this helpful

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Beautiful.

Simply beautiful. The world would be a very different place if more people digested this.

1 person found this helpful

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Beautiful

Wonderful poetic account of Catrinas journey to find her home
Wise and uplifting,heartfelt and heartwarming

1 person found this helpful