Out of the Woods: A Memoir of Wayfinding

Out of the Woods: A Memoir of Wayfinding

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by Lynn Darling
     
 

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Combining the soul-baring insight of Wild, the profound wisdom of Shop Class as Soulcraft, and the adventurous spirit of Eat, Pray, Love: Lynn Darling’s powerful, lyrical memoir of self-discovery, full of warmth and wry humor, Out of the Woods.

When her college-bound daughter leaves home, Lynn Darling, widowed over a

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Overview

Combining the soul-baring insight of Wild, the profound wisdom of Shop Class as Soulcraft, and the adventurous spirit of Eat, Pray, Love: Lynn Darling’s powerful, lyrical memoir of self-discovery, full of warmth and wry humor, Out of the Woods.

When her college-bound daughter leaves home, Lynn Darling, widowed over a decade earlier, finds herself alone—and utterly lost, with no idea of what she wants or even who she is. Searching for answers, she leaves New York for the solitary woods of Vermont. Removed from the familiar, cocooned in the natural world, her only companions a new dog and a compass, she hopes to develop a sense of direction—both in the woods and in her life.

Hiking unmapped trails, Darling meditates on the milestones of her past; as she adapts to her new surroundings, she uses the knowledge she’s gained to chart her future. And when an unexpected setback nearly derails her newfound balance, she is able to draw upon her newfound skills to find her bearings and stay the course.

In revealing how one woman learned to navigate—literally and metaphorically—the uneven course of life, Out of the Woods is, in the words of Pulitzer-prize winning author Geraldine Brooks,  “a marvelous book . . . both a compass and a manifesto for navigating the often-treacherous switchbacks of the second half of life.” 

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Leigh Newman
…[a] fascinating inquiry into how human beings navigate…Darling is a dazzling writer, able to capture the image of "an apple blushing on the scraggly tree" or the lingering grief of her husband's death with a beautiful, sometimes tender, immediacy.
Publishers Weekly
★ 11/04/2013
In a radiant, brave memoir, Darling, a journalist and memoirist (Necessary Sins), recalls a difficult time shortly after her daughter goes off to college and Darling moves from New York City to the remote woods of Woodstock, Vt. A widow in her mid-’50s, Darling finds the woods around her small, eclectic house at the end of the road inviting yet frightening, and soon learns how “directionally challenged” she is—thus vulnerable. Having fled her life in the city out of a sense of failure and shame, she admits that she no longer knows what map of her life . She turns to a point by point “metaphysical” to-do list, including “get sense of direction; find authentic way to live; figure out how to be old; deal with sex; learn Latin.” With her companion a yellow Lab puppy she named Henry, and occasionally help from wilderness experts—or a compass and a map—Darling embarks on a clarifying journey of self-navigation. Despite being sidetracked by cancer and a year of grueling treatments, which she endured largely alone, she gradually finds her moorings, emerging from this dark spell with a profound and grateful understanding of what it means to take responsibility for yourself. (Jan.)
Booklist
“Darling has written a fierce and forthright chronicle of one formidable woman’s courageous journey of healing and revelation, gratitude and resilience.”
Dani Shapiro
“What do we do when life unfolds in unexpected ways—which is to say, when life unfolds, full stop? We cave, or we persevere. We grow rigid and numb, or, like the inimitable Lynn Darling, we come to know ourselves, with courage and a beautiful, stumbling grace.”
Katrina Kenison
“This wry, intimate, deeply courageous memoir will speak to any woman who has rounded the corner into the afternoon of life, only to find herself pausing to wonder, Which way now? Lynn Darling was lucky enough to get utterly lost, and then brave enough to chart her own course home.”
Geraldine Brooks
“Like Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, but by a writer who has had a lot more tread scorched off her tires than the young and idealistic Dillard; both a compass and a manifesto for navigating the often-treacherous switchbacks of the second half of life. A marvelous book.”
Meredith Hall
“Lynn Darling is a compelling character, smart and irreverent and earnest in her effort to find her way into the future. In beautiful and surprising prose, Darling invites us to wander with her as she circles and roams and ultimately claims her own destiny.”
Nora Gallagher
“Lynn Darling is everything I love in a writer: smart, honest, gimlet-eyed. Every sentence worth its weight. You’ll find no easy answers in this memoir of finding one’s way out of grief and loss and illness; instead, a trustworthy guide, a true compass.”
More.com
“Darling’s memoir navigates the geography of loss with a fresh, lush beauty….This is really a book about solitude, with Darling’s ironic wit (often directed at herself) cutting a sharp path through the wandering richness of melancholy.”
More Magazine
“Darling’s memoir navigates the geography of loss with a fresh, lush beauty….This is really a book about solitude, with Darling’s ironic wit (often directed at herself) cutting a sharp path through the wandering richness of melancholy.”
Maureen Corrigan
“Striking in its intelligence and imagery…Darling’s personal version of Dante’s dark night of the soul will resonate with many empty nesters, especially women….A compelling story of internal exploration, as well as outward-bound adventure that owes something to Henry David Thoreau and Virginia Woolf.”
Elle
“A graceful, intensely personal coming-of-middle-age story….Like the megaselling memoirs by Cheryl Strayed and Elizabeth Gilbert, it lays out a concrete, mappable-albeit open-ended-plan for self-betterment through travel and discovery.”
Wall Street Journal
“A thought-provoking, poignant and often refreshingly funny book….It is a pleasure to spend time with Darling’s fine writing, thoughtful reflection and perhaps a more trustworthy sense of direction that she is willing to claim.”
Boston Globe
“There have been many accounts of conquering nature and disease. But Darling melds her extreme adventures in the woods and in the doctor’s treatment room with brilliance and poetry….Wonderful.”
Fitness Magazine
“Fans of Wild and Eat, Pray, Love will relish seeing Darling find her footing.”
Washington Post
“A thought-provoking, poignant and often refreshingly funny book….It is a pleasure to spend time with Darling’s fine writing, thoughtful reflection and perhaps a more trustworthy sense of direction than she is willing to claim.”
Leigh Newman
“Darling is a dazzling writer, able to capture the image of ‘an apple blushing on the scraggly tree’ or the lingering grief of her husband’s death with a beautiful, sometimes tender, immediacy….The heft of this story is in her intelligent questioning of her past and future….Fascinating.”
Reeve Lindbergh
“A thought-provoking, poignant and often refreshingly funny book….It is a pleasure to spend time with Darling’s fine writing, thoughtful reflection and perhaps a more trustworthy sense of direction than she is willing to claim.”
Judy Bolton-Fasman
“There have been many accounts of conquering nature and disease. But Darling melds her extreme adventures in the woods and in the doctor’s treatment room with brilliance and poetry….Wonderful.”
Kirkus Reviews
2013-11-03
One woman's melancholic search for herself amid the woods of Vermont. Darling (Necessary Sins, 2007) takes readers on a slow journey of self-discovery, chronicling how she learned the ins and outs of living in rural Vermont. Once her daughter had started college, the apartment they shared in New York City after Darling's husband had died seemed too full of past memories. The author was ready to try her hand at a new adventure: "I would move to Vermont, to the little house I bought. I would buy a dog and live in the country. I would reinvent myself, a woman alone, solitary and self-contained." With that spirit, Darling packed up some belongings and moved to a small, owner-built, somewhat funky house tucked into the woods. Alone and dependent on her own resourcefulness, the author had to learn to navigate the tricky solar-power system and cranky generator, the mice in the ceiling and the collapsing roof on the woodshed. But she was stuck in limbo, unable to unpack, unable to write, unable to face the task of doing, so she ventured outdoors instead. The forest around her was an alien and unreadable landscape, as foreign as the woman she was trying to discover in herself. She stuck to the known paths while the narrow deer trails beckoned to her, egging her on to venture past the safe and narrow roadways. A routine doctor's visit and the unexpected diagnosis of cancer quickly catapulted Darling into foreign territory. From that point, she slowly and methodically discovered her route back to health and self-awareness. Haunting and lyrical, Darling's journey through unknown forests, both physical and emotional, resonates with longings, hopes, fears and a stalwart courage to conquer them all. Evocative ruminations on getting older and discovering the links between nature and self.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062199218
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
01/07/2014
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
13,787
File size:
1 MB

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