What the Wind Saw is a collection of 25 short stories of the people, real and imagined, from a small tract of ancient land in the heart of Hertfordshire: Wheathampstead, The Ayots, Welwyn Garden City and St Albans. It is a journey through the landscape and through history.
The wind has always blown over these villages, fields, rivers, its towns and its city. It always will. We have the same worries, fears, hopes and dreams today as we have always had. We are connected to each other by our shared experiences, by the places that we live and by the paths that we tread. The wind narrates the stories through a prologue and an epilogue and makes its presence felt in the stories themselves.
These are stories of friendship, power, love, grief and ambition inspired by the landscape and what is in it - John Bunyan’s Cottage, Shaw’s Corner, the annual Ayot St Lawrence art show, the Devil’s Dyke, St Albans market, a walk in the woods, a walk across the fields.
With a Foreword by Robert Voss CBE CStJ
HM Lord-Lieutenant of Hertfordshire
"Having a glimpse of the history that surrounds Middle Hertfordshire through numerous stories spanning many centuries is entertaining but at the same time educational. The way in which Zoë Jasko brings history to life in each story is wonderful and to know that these are stories taking place on my own doorstep makes it more poignant."
Robert Voss CBE CStJ
HM Lord-Lieutenant of Hertfordshire
"Zoë Jasko creates a wonderfully evocative atmosphere through these stories inspired by the history, folklore and landscape of the remarkable county of Hertfordshire. Turning points are explored through the personal, everyday lives of its residents past, present and future that we can all relate to."
Curator, Welwyn -Hatfield Museum Service
"Beautifully written and very lyrical like the musician that you are. The writing made me feel safe and warm".
Journalist and Communications Director
"What The Wind Saw by Zoë Jasko (The Endless Bookcase) is a smart piece of local publishing that I have greatly enjoyed. Jasko has taken a corner of Hertfordshire she knows intimately and written 25 short stories set there, using different time periods but often located in the same buildings and places. We start with tribal monarch Cassivellaunus negotiating with Ceasar, and move through obscure medieval villagers to the ordinary people of the present day, with famous figures such as John Bunyan and the archeologist Mortimer Wheeler also dropping in. The overall effect is to take us into the deep heart of the countryside, and see that it is not the fixed, mundane backdrop that we often take it for. It is a bold and interesting artistic experiment, a themed album, not a collection of hits, the literary equivalent of Michael Wood's The Story of England, where he excavates a national story from a single village."
Editor of BookBrunch
"These stories are extraordinary, each one a mini masterpiece, each competing to be a personal favourite. Each is somehow spiritual in its own way. The reader enters a field, turns a corner and watches a mini play, with different sets and from different periods. Beware the casual reader; the stories are deceptively simple. It is easy to access the stories at different levels and each is fulfilling. What I am trying to say at midnight is that I have never read a book quite like this one. The small area of England comes to life, is populated by those in the stories and no one can visit, seek out, those spots and not think of these stories and wonder if perhaps they were all true at some moment in time, two thousand years ago, 50 years ago, or at a moment which corresponds with no time as we measure it in conventional terms."
Author and former chairman of the CPRE
''.. a delightfully eclectic collection of stories drawn from across a wide range of of different eras, characters and styles, but all set right here in central Hertfordshire."
"It's a great read, with something in it for all tastes, an ideal book for a summer holiday, perfect for dipping in and out of, especially for those of us who recognise the landmarks of Hertfordshire."
Presenter & DJ, Verulam Radio
"The concept of telling stories concerning people living on one area of land, over the centuries, is ingenious – and could appeal to those who know that particular area well. The stories illustrate an unsurprising but often ignored truth that, in every era, people’s concerns are the same. They yearn for stability, love, food and safety. Life doesn’t always provide these things easily and the perpetual challenge is how people cope with this and how they try to achieve their aims, given each era’s social conventions, technology and so on."
Author and reviewer for The Endless Bookcase