The Outermost House: A Year of Life on the Great Beach of Cape Cod

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In 1926, Henry Beston spent two weeks in a two-room cottage on the sand dunes of Cape Cod. He had not intended to stay longer, but, as he later wrote, "I lingered on, and as the year lengthened into autumn, the beauty and mystery of this earth and outer sea so possessed and held me that I could not go." Beston stayed for a year, meditating on humanity and the natural world. In The Outermost House, originally published in 1928, he poetically chronicled the four seasons at the beach; the ebb and flow of the tides, ...
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Overview

In 1926, Henry Beston spent two weeks in a two-room cottage on the sand dunes of Cape Cod. He had not intended to stay longer, but, as he later wrote, "I lingered on, and as the year lengthened into autumn, the beauty and mystery of this earth and outer sea so possessed and held me that I could not go." Beston stayed for a year, meditating on humanity and the natural world. In The Outermost House, originally published in 1928, he poetically chronicled the four seasons at the beach; the ebb and flow of the tides, the migration of birds, storms, stars, and solitude. The landscape was his major character, and his writing provides a snapshot of the Cape, a place physically changed yet as soulful 80 years later. Like Henry D. Thoreau before him, and Rachel Carson after him, Beston was a writer of stunning beauty, importance and vision. Robert Finch once wrote of him, "His are burnished, polished sentences, richly metaphoric and musical, that beg to be read aloud." The Outermost House is a classic of American nature literature. It is now available, for the first time, on audio.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Echoing Henry David Thoreau's life at the edge of Walden Pond, Beston's year on the beach of Cape Cod results in a classic record of a naturalist's encounter with an environment still unspoiled. Though Beston lives that year by himself in a small house built on the edge of the beach, he is never alone. Surrounded by a large variety of migrant birds, he delights in watching their habits up close and muses on the forces impelling them. Members of a nearby Coast Guard station offer occasional human company as well, but Beston's main focus stays on the rich variety of life around him. He describes the minutest detail of this world in thrilling language. He sees the full spectrum of colors in the waves, the sky, the topographical features of the Cape, the vegetation, and, of course, the fish and birds. While maintaining a respectful distance, he communicates an appreciation of the environment that is vitalized by his superb prose rhythms and a vocabulary that captures every nuance of his meaning. Brett Barry's narration is ideally suited to Beston's principal work, and Daniel Payne's interview with the author, though relatively brief, enhances the book's message. Highly recommended.
—Bernard E. Morris

From the Publisher

“A colorful and ever-changing chronicle of movement that approaches the magnificent.” —Boston Transcript

“Clear and full of life.” —The Nation

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345289780
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/12/1980
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback

Meet the Author

Henry Beston (1888) was the author of many books, including Herbs and the Earth and Northern Farm. His Cape Cod house was declared a National Literary Landmark in 1964, but was destroyed by a winter storm in 1978.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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