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Cabin Fever: A Suburban Father's Search for the Wild Hardcover – June 7, 2011
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Recommended by USA Today
“I grew fond fast of this book, and it’s hard not to. Fate is a man who brings coyotes and cougars to the page in a thoughtful, beautiful prose that’s readable, lyrical, and begs the reader to slow down and take their time. The book is a wide, deep river, best observed with a cup of coffee as the sun’s coming up over the ridge and the night’s crickets have given way to the scratching and calls of the morning’s towhees.”—Terrain.org
“Tom Montgomery Fate’s charming volume is about his search for meaning in the suburbs, a search that takes him to the woods of Michigan where he builds his own cabin…What makes Cabin Fever such good reading is that the author doesn’t try to be a modern-day Thoreau…The magic of Cabin Fever is the author’s willingness to move back and forth between the two worlds of hectic suburbs and the more isolated nature-soaked cabin.”—Christian Century
“Cabin Fever is a quietly stunning book, organized around the four seasons, much as Walden is structured…His elegant and rhythmic prose is about embodiment and the fight we must make to swim against the current that seeks to sweep us away from such bold and incarnational living…Not all books invite us to enter their lives in so intimate a fashion, to join our own patterns of living with theirs. But Fate’s admission that he is a “slow and bungling pilgrim” serves as an admonition and a blessing to his readers to go and live, even if imperfectly, this one blessed life we’ve been given.”—Brevity
“May touch a chord in a desperate urban-dweller's heart … may also show … that Mother Earth's bosom is not always welcoming to mere humans.” —Wall Street Journal
“His account of a quest for a “more deliberate life,” inspired by a re-reading of Thoreau’s Walden several years ago, is refreshingly modest but also aching with yearning for the Home we all desire.”—Christianity Today
“His frank, poignant, and funny essays grapple with the quandaries inherent in the effort to live a balanced life. Fate’s clarion musings on place, time, family, social responsibility, the wild, and the civilized are thoughtful and affecting in their revelations of how complex and precious life is.” —Donna Seaman, Booklist, starred review, May 1, 2011
"Never snide or condescending, Fate blends the significant milestones of marriage and family in a high-tech BlackBerry society with the joys and shortcomings of being mindful in both cultures." —Publishers Weekly
“The tone of Fate’s writing is serious and thoughtful, yet laced with some humor (particularly the chapter in which he imagines a gay relationship between two male cardinals)… Fate is introspective and writes in a lyrical manner, offering much food for thought in this multi-layered, 'how to live” memoir.'” —Hilary Daninhirsch, Foreword Reviews
“This quietly marvelous book is really a mystery novel at heart. The mystery is How to live? Tom Montgomery Fate, a self-described ‘slow and bumbling pilgrim,’ sets out to answer this question, meandering, with Thoreau as his companion, toward the truth--or more accurately, the truths. Henry David Thoreau has never been more relevant than he is today, and what a pleasure to follow the two of them sleuthing toward something solid in these fickle and shifting times.”—David Gessner, author of Soaring with Fidel and The Tarball Chronicles
“With Thoreau as his guide, Tom Montgomery Fate explores a wild territory where Henry himself never dared to venture: marriage, parenthood, and the suburban backyard. Along the way, he shows us how to embrace the challenges of our world, and our daily lives, with new grace, restoring us to the place where we should all be living: in gratitude and wonder. A profound and beautiful book.”—John T. Price, author of Man Killed by Pheasant and Other Kinships
“In Cabin Fever, Tom Montgomery Fate has written a book as wise as it is charming. Fate, in his deeply informed dialogue with Thoreau, never dodges the many realities of American middle-class existence that might lead to a life of quiet desperation. Still, Cabin Fever is, finally, not a book about avoiding desperation but achieving balance.”—Stuart Dybek, author of The Coast of Chicago
“Tom Montgomery Fate resonates with Thoreau without needing to be Thoreau. His Cabin Fever echoes Walden without pretense. It is a book for our time by a writer of our time. Fate proves himself against his transcendental literary ancestor and, in the process, gives us a contemporary book of thought, hope, and promise. Cabin Fever is an antidote to the ills of the day.”—Jeffrey S. Cramer, editor of Walden: A Fully Annotated Edition and curator of the Thoreau Institute
“Quiet, beautifully written reflections on nature and the mindful life, laced with the thoughts and writings of Thoreau.” —Kirkus
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
He divides his musings into spring, summer, autumn and winter; so we do not really even start out with the construction of his cabin in the woods near Lake Michigan. It is a reminiscence later in the pages. His purposes of escape are sometimes not very clear and one realizes that typing on a laptop by candlelight is perhaps his modern version of Thoreau writing his observations, which are frequently quoted and read by Tom.
Where the book starts to come alive are his observations of suburban wildlife, birds, cicada, his family and even his wife's operation and her recovery. We begin to appreciate his study of his time in the woods as well as his almost disastrous episode in trimming trees in his backyard, his experience pretending to know what he is doing in selecting 2X4's in the lumberyard and learning what he is really looking for.
He brings the wonder of coyotes at O'Hare Airport and the realities of the death of the family cat to his writing..
This is not just a solitary trip into the woods and the cabin, it is a revelation of nature around us wherever we live and a reading that grows on you as you journey through his year.
Members of the book club spoke of how this book resonated with them on many levels: our daily responsibilities which can overwhelm our connection to nature and ultimately to our inner selves. Many felt his search for balance, attentiveness and creativity serves as an antidote to the pressures of daily life. We were delighted with this book.
Each chapter begins with an inspirational quote from Henry David Thoreau. And even though Tom is an avid re-reader of the book Walden: Or, Life in the Woods, you don't have to be familiar with the Transcendentalist's writings yourself to understand his context here. The essays are arranged generally by season, Spring through Winter. In many of the offerings, the author proves that you can witness amazing things if you simply pay attention to what's going on around you. Some of his sightings are bound to stick with you. The one that will remain with me is the tale of three birds working together toward a common goal. But the reader should be warned that the image of Nature is not sanitized here. Even the Disney folks would be hard pressed to put a musical spin on the outcome of some of Tom's reports. This is Real Life, and yes, much of it is Wild.
Perhaps Tom Montgomery Fate seeks that same "Wildness" that Mr. Thoreau was ever traipsing after.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Pretty deep reading. Frustrations of modern-day society demands...but finds solace in nature.Published 13 months ago by Mary Melsa
A good book for people who live in the real world with their families, busyness,and distractions, yet yearn to experience a spiritual connection to nature.Published on April 17, 2014 by Michelle L. Babinski
I loved, loved, loved this book! Very well
written from start to finish. Funny, heartwarming,
relatable and philosophical all at the same time. Read more
It isn't quite fair to call this book Cabin Fever. If anything, most of its loosely connected essays are set elsewhere, not in the Michigan cabin located within hearing distance of... Read morePublished on December 6, 2011 by AppleFan