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The Outermost House: A Year of Life On The Great Beach of Cape Cod Paperback – July 1, 2003
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“A colorful and ever-changing chronicle of movement that approaches the magnificent.” ―Boston Transcript
“Clear and full of life.” ―The Nation
About the Author
Henry Beston (1888–1968) wrote many books, including White Pine and Blue Water, Northern Farm, and The St. Lawrence.
Top Customer Reviews
In addition to being a great writer, Beston is an acute observer biological phenomena, and not a bad theorist either. His discourse on the relationship other animals bear to us ("They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations...") does more to unlink the Great Chain of Being than any philosophical essay. And Beston's influence has been wide-ranging, not only among natural history writers, but among writers in general: unless I am mistaken, The Outermost House is one of the sources for the "Dry Salvages" section of T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets. (If no one else has noticed that before, I want coauthorship on the paper!)
Some books are so memorable that parts of them become internalized on first reading. The first time I read The Outermost House, its final sentence -- as graceful an example of polysyndeton as you will find in English -- became mine. Now, I pass it on to you: "For the gifts of life are the earth's, and they are given to all, and they are the songs of birds at daybreak, Orion and the Bear, and dawn seen over ocean from the beach."
I've read this book several times. Beston's imagery is excellent, making it easy to picture the Cape Cod setting, see what he saw, walk where he walked, and at the same time feel the sea breeze on your face and relax.
Another tribute to this book is that you can literally open it to any page, any paragraph and find fresh and descriptive writing. Here, I'll pick a truely random page now:
"...Streaming over the dunes, the storm howled on west over the moors. The islands of the marsh were brownish black, the channels leaden and whipped up by the wind; and along the shores of the desolate islands, channel waves broke angrily, chiding, tossing heavy ringlets of lifeless white. A scene of incredible desolation and cold. All day long I kept to my house, building up the fire and keeping watch from the windows..."
I highly recommend this book, I know I will read yet again someday.
"Nature is a part of our humanity, and without some awareness and experience of that divine mystery man ceases to be man."
"Man can be either less than man or more than man, and both are monsters, the last more dread."
"Poor body, time and the long years were the first tailors to teach you the merciful use of clothes! Though some scold today because you are too much seen, to my mind, you are not seen fully enough or often enough when you are beautiful."
"Poetry is as necessary to comprehension as science. It is as impossible to live without reverence as it is without joy.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The book is a great read for beach lovers however a little slow on some of the bird content.Published 2 months ago by Suzanne Idol
A lovely book about isolation and spending time with yourself. The observations were thought provoking and gave insight to living simply and well. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Nancy C. Hawks
Loved it. Read it several times in the past, gave the book to someone a few years ago and was so glad to find it again.Published 4 months ago by Janet Robinson
I didn't really care for this book. I didn't realize that this book was not a novel. My mistake.Published 4 months ago by Chris Cawood
Older book but a very interesting read, great natural observations, and an interesting study of an isolated human life over a year living in the outermost house. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Texas Mystery Lover