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Posted May 8, 2011
Even the name Himmer reminds one of a sound one might hear in a bee-loud glen. Himmer the author leads us into a world we vaguely recognize (perhaps we are blind, too) as modern-day America: outside a large city sits a mansion on a hill. Just as in days of yore, when wealthy landowners changed the landscape to suit their tastes, a wealthy capitalist has modified his land holdings to create a lovely locale but bemoans the fact he has no time to enjoy it. So he hires a disaffected young man to live the life of a happy hermit in the environment he has created. Things go remarkably smoothly for a time.
**Reading Group questions Ahead**
Our hermit describes his daily life in a way that parallels in important ways the life of an author. When one chooses to join the writing life, the author seems to say, one signs off to major portions of the ordinary days lived by the majority. One spends lots of time alone, observing, trying to achieve some level of proficiency in arts (not just writing, but other expressive arts) one has never practiced before. One must become wholly focused and may even waste a lot of time in trying to find a way through the lonely existence of learning to see. But eventually, when our hermit is offered an opportunity to leave his cave and live the life of a wealthy man, he turns it down. By this time he is used to scrabbling in the dirt for his food, and finds the wondrous taste of his own production payment enough.
The fact that our hermit actually became sightless as time wore on made me curious. Could this be the selfishness of authors who abandon other familial or residential duties to focus on their one interest, leaving the heavy-lifting (wage-earning, cooking, cleaning, child-raising) to loved ones? But since our hermit decides to stay where he is despite his blindness, I begin to think that perhaps he has found his inner life more rewarding, in the end, than living in the world. And perhaps in his sightlessness, he can actually see motive and remember beauty more clearly. Though he strains to see, the outlines his vision allows gives him what he needs to go on. Is Old Man River an editor? Is Mr. Crane (the name can't be irrelevant) a large publisher? Is Mrs. Crane the distractions of the flesh? Who, then, are the hikers? Fellow artists that gather to perfect their craft, stealing occasionally, the fruits of another?
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Posted September 24, 2012
This book has to have one of the most interesting premises I've seen in a while. In short, a guy gets fired from his job running multiple blogs for imaginary people in order to market fake plants gets fired and pretty much quits life only to get hired by some rich guy to live as a hermit in his garden. Himmer makes good use of the premise as well. The rich guy becomes a sort of god figure, though god seems to drift in to become the rich guy in a way at some point. It's strange, but delightful. It's a hell of an interesting meditation on modern life.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 3, 2012
This book was like a cross between Castaway and Big Brother. Finch has lost his job and falls into a depression after a long time of not showering or leaving the house he answers a spam email for an unknown job and the next day a limo shows up and whisks him away to a big mansion compound where a billionaire wants him to be his garden hermit, for 7 years and $5 million and Finch accepts. This is the odd premise of this fascinating book. This was such a unique book it is hard to review… What started as a “job” for $5 million dollars turns into a life Finch loves and he never wants to leave his garden. He spends his day in reflective meditation, floating naked in the river that was built just for him, working in his vegetable field and he is very happy way happier than he was in his old life. Even though he knows his whole life is being filmed and recorded he finds ways to ignore the cameras. His new boss sets tasks for him along the way but eventually things change and Finch is all alone and quite happy. Oh I don’t want to give too much away but will say Finch does have a choice to make and it made me wonder which choice I would make. The narration of this audiobook is done by Mark F. Smith and he does a very nice job and I would listen to him again. This is straight up storytelling with only a couple different voices but it was a story well told by Mark F. Smith. As always the production value from iambik audio is top notch. The serene peaceful life Finch leads made me wonder if I could do it give up all my creature comforts and electronics to live as a hermit. Honestly I don’t think I could, at least not for the amount of time Finch does. I enjoyed this book and was never bored with Finch’s life even though he pretty much does nothing. I highly recommend this book so you can start your own reflective meditations on how rushed and busy our lives are. 4 StarsWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.