- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (June 27, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780143037248
- ISBN-13: 978-0143037248
- ASIN: 0143037242
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 7.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 90 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,248 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A Field Guide to Getting Lost Paperback – June 27, 2006
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"An intriguing amalgam of personal memoir, philosophical speculation, nature lore, cultural history, and art criticism."
--Los Angeles Times
"An altogether sublime collection. . . she sees in the act of embracing the unknown a gateway to self-transcendence."
--Maria Popova, Brainpickings.org
"This indespensable California writer's most personal book yet, alive as ever to the subtle nuances of the natural world, but newly responsive to the promptings of her own heart and history."
--San Fransisco Chronicle
"This meditation on the pleasures and terrors of getting lost is . . . a series of peregrinations, leading the reader to unexpected vistas."
--The New Yorker
"An ode to losing yourself and finding out what's on the other side of familiarity. For Ms. Solnit . . . getting lost is more than a matter of merely physical circumstances. It's a state of mind to be embraced and explored, a gateway to discovering more about yourself in relation to the rest of the world."
--The Dallas Morning News
From the Back Cover
"A meditation on the pleasures and terrors of getting lost"
The New Yorker
"This indispensable California writers most personal book yet."
San Francisco Chronicle
"An intriguing amalgam of personal memoir, philosophical speculation, natural lore, cultural history, and art criticism . . . a book to set you wandering down strangely fruitful trails of thought."
Los Angeles Times
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To lose is to succumb to the fate that awaits us all--the diminutive sense of depletion and reduction. Solnit, though, disagrees. In her stunning collection of essays that make up A Field Guide to Getting Lost, for Solnit, loss is a transformative force, rather than a negative one--a powerful impetus for change that moves into the world of the liminal--the spaces between moments rather than the spaces that constitute moments.
Relying on notable figures ranging in discipline and trade from Henry Thoreau, Conquistador Cabeza de Vaca, and Parisian performance artist and judo extraordinaire Yves Klein to pull her through from a state of solidity to that of the fluid, that of the blue itself--Solnit walks us through landscapes and worlds that are altogether foreign and exotic, to strangely convey the most familiar landscape of all--change.
Solnit alternates between the constant imagery of the solid, the grounded, the ideas that allow us to plant ourselves in the constant--only to transition into that of the "blue"--that of the ethereal and atmospheric, that of the liminal. Every other essay is titled: "The Blue of Distance" allowing for discussion of the philosophical means of the color blue as an aesthetic principle and metaphor of fluidity--the intent of which is to bring us into the space between relinquishment and acquisition--giving and taking.
More than a simple collection of essays, where Solnit succeeds is in the connection to the personal. We create ourselves through our association with others, picking and choosing tidbits of cultural ephemera we deem appropriate to absorb into our own lives--to make our own--making Solnit's viewpoint wholly relatable. She almost takes the form of overt autobiography. Association with Solnit's points becomes inherent.
Although, the collection seems sporadic at times--the essays jump and move and transition like a child hopping from puddle to puddle mid-rain storm--hence the exploratory milieu, making the readability erratic. A singular essay can cover topics ranging in breadth from her own home life, the world of the Conquistador and pre-colonial United States, to the diminishing microbes of our environment, and the death of the desert tortoise. It's fascinating and intriguing, but at times comes across disjointed.
Nevertheless, A Field Guide to Getting Lost is a philosophical treatise on the idea of flux--the essence of the middle, and the spaces between places in which our bodies and psyches transition to worlds and climes that are foreign and beautiful. The book is a success in that it reminds us, yet again, that the only constant in life is change.
For more great book reviews, see bookguyreview.com
We all know that writing is a form of art and I love this book because Rebecca Solnit takes the art of writing to another level to the point where her readers actually DO GET LOST in her work. I honestly did not read this book from start to finish because I believed there was no need to. After the first few chapters I was fully satisfied and struck deeply by her words. This book is not coherent and it is fragmented with stories and I think that is a depiction of what life is like. There is no linear passageway and sometimes our lives walk amongst crooked paths before they can become straight again and I feel that her writing style mimics that idea.
Just buy the book and stop reading it when you feel lost. It'll be worth the journey.