Books: Stone Will Answer, by Beatrice Searle
This is stonemason Beatrice Searle’s story of her 1,300-mile journey to Trondheim Cathedral pulling a 40kg stone she calls the Orkney Boat on a converted sacktruck she names Marianne.
Her journey has been inspired by the stories she is told of Magnus Erlendsson, the Patron Saint of Orkney, by her stonemasonry college tutor, and a mason’s banker mark found on stones in both Lincoln Cathedral, where Beatrice is an apprentice, and Nidaros Domkirke (Trondheim Cathedral), which starts a conversation between the masons at each.
She visits Orkney, chooses a stone, carves footprints on it and sets off for Trondheim in Norway dragging it behind her, inviting people she meets along the way on the ancient Gudbrandsdalen pilgrim path to stand in the footprints and experience what they will.
It may sound a bit unlikely, but it is a story everyone can relate to because it unfolds as a metaphor for life, in which the hardest journeys can be the most rewarding.
If you have read and enjoyed Alex Woodcock’s King of Dust, published in 2019, and Andrew Ziminski’s The Stonemason, published in 2020, you will probably enjoy Beatrice Searl’s Stone Will Answer.
There is a review of the book in the Natural Stone Specialist magazine. If you would like to, you can download a PDF of it below. To subscribe to the magazine, click here.
Author: Beatrice Searle
Published by: Harvill Secker (Penguin)
Price: £18.99 in hardback / £9.99 Kindle