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The Way Out: A True Story of Survival

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  151 ratings  ·  23 reviews
Craig Childs is lost. In a labyrinth of canyons in the American Southwest where virtually nothing else is alive-barely any vegetation, few signs of wildlife, scant traces of any human precursors in this landscape-Childs and his friend Dirk undertake a fortnight's journey.
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published September 3rd 2007 by Little, Brown and Company (first published January 7th 2005)
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Yas
I purchased this for about 20p from my local library so to be completely honest, I wasn't really expecting too much but it sounded like a good read, so I got it anyway. All the more appealing as apparently, it is based on a true story.

It supposedly is a tale of survival, a man lost in the deserts of America, whilst on a nature trek with a friend and fellow nature enthusiast, called Dirk.

I therefore expected, given the nature of the book, details of the surroundings, sure. However, for all of th
...more
Michael John
I really like this type of writing. Craig Childs does an excellent job of finding the way out of the "civilized" world in which we live and into the labyrinthine canyons of the Colorado Plateau. Two issues however. First, I didn't ever feel as if he and Dirk were lost. The sensation of panic and desperation never seemed tangible to this reader. Childs seemed more at home in the wilds than he did in the flashbacks to urban life. Dirk as well. These men seem awkward when dealing with society yet a ...more
Purple Osprey
It's got slow paced chapters about walking and climbing and faster paced chapters of flashbacks. It could be a good book. I found it hard to visualize and hard to follow. Ok, I'm not familiar at all with the landscapes he tries to describe, but I remember how I read every book by Jules Verne (for an example)and could picture every scene in every foreign land.
Sooo, not so good writing here I would say.
Robyn
I absolutely love Craig Child's writing.
His descriptions are wrenching, real and unending. The perfect example of show-don't-tell writing. I relate to his settings: I am at home in the desert, the mountains, extreme weather, the untamed. Although I don't push the boundaries as he does, he challenges me to be willing to push them a little further.
This telling kept my hands sweaty from p.127 on. It could have all gone very wrong. I know that feeling of despair, relief, what do I do about that bobc
...more
Jason Roth
Craig Childs writing continuously expresses his love and fascination of the various landscapes that he traverses, most often (like in this book) the southwestern U.S. Although he is very creative with his descriptions, I'm someone who isn't quite as familiar with that specific landscape and got confused at times and found it hard to visualize and put myself in that place. Also, although it seems like he had to include them for his own personal reasons, his portrayal of his traveling companion an ...more
Kathy Pool
I've read a couple of Craig's books. i enjoy the first person memoir, the southwest subject matter, the armchair traveling alongside him as he hikes, explores and expounds upon early pueblo tribes in SE US, along with snippets of his early years growing up with an unusual parent. In this book he is with an eccentric travel partner (well, Childs is also eccentric) and they are opposites, but manage to be compatible and companionable. He excels in the craft of writing- and if you have ever wandere ...more
Colin
In the twisting chasms, sloping domes and crashing boulders of southern Utah Craig Childs sits, pen and journal in hand infusing the landscape with his drama. His close companion Dirk, no less dramatic, stabs the air with his pointed observations. Fortunately there are little flashbacks recalling Dirk's days as a cop and Craig's interactions with his crazy ass father. Without these, I fear the book would drown in the sometimes confusing, deeply involved, poetic style that Craig employs to descri ...more
Alan Williams
I wish I could write descriptive narrative text the way Craig Childs does. His use of language is inspiring, as is the use of flashbacks to tell the various parts of this story.

At times however the descriptive narrative style can overtake the story, and become just a little too much. Too much detail, too often and the story falters rather than flows. It's a bit of a harsh criticism for a book that I really enjoyed, but I suspect that it might put many readers off.
Linda Martin
If you like to read "true life drama" and pushing the limit, living on the edge...this is a book for you. Any body ever read Edward Abbey's "Desert Solitaire?" Abbey was one of the most unconventional environmentalists since Muir. Craig Childs just picks up wheree Abbey left off and pushesthe limit even further. He is one intelligent guy as far as knowledge of survival in canyons and deserts.
R. Patrick
A journey that risks death through the caverns and canyons of southern Utah. A journey inward as well, as the author comes to grips with his memories of his abusive father. Inter-meshed with it is the story of his friend Dirk, with whom the author is traveling, a person who has lived with risk and death most of his life. Both have seen violence that they must live with, but can never escape.
Dayna
Nice interweaving of flashbacks of his relationship with his father and his hiking buddy's experiences as a cop with being in the canyons of Utah. This is a testament to the power of nature/wilderness to provide a constructive & educational addiction (as opposed to the seeming dead end of alcohol/drugs.) A mountain lion points them towards the way out of endless box canyons. Amazing.
sarah  corbett morgan
I was a little hesitant when I started this book. It seemed Hemingwayesque in it's macho two-men-bonding-in-the-wilderness voice, but I was soon caught up in Child's lyrical descriptions of the canyonlands, his memories of his father, and Dirk's dark story of his life as a cop. It's good. It's very very good.

Kathy Kayser-konig
Very different from the rest of the books I have read by this author. I guess the others were mostly written about a solitary experience in the desert but this one has a second character. One I really didn't like but the story was still good.
Sam Dye
This book has a disconnect with reality for me. The drama doesn't seem exactly real of being actually lost but the writing is good and the anecdotes are entertaining and informative.
Clint
Read for the second time - fantastic insights into Craig, the desert, Dirk and their friendship. Some very powerful sentences within this book.
Rosemary
This was not my favorite of his, but good. A lot of tension. I liked that he wove personal stories in with the specific journey he wrote about.
Scott
I would have loved a few pictures as I don't think the pictures in my mind captured the true beauty that he experienced on the trip.
Bmacd
Lovely descriptions of canyons in South Utah but thin plot and lost interest as quest for a way out becomes too drawn out.
Karenmarie
Another book read for my English class. This one was my favorite of the bunch.
Vanessa
Vivid storyteller, you could imagine every detail as he described it.
Janette
Wasn't my favorite--Thoreau joins Chris McCandless.
Patricia
Aug 09, 2008 Patricia is currently reading it
Dramatic narrative in the canyons of southern Utah.
Julia
Wonderful story, made me want to go on a walkabout.
Paul
My first Craig Childs book...I'm hooked. Good stuff...a must read.
Nate
Nate marked it as to-read
Nov 10, 2014
Jacob
Jacob marked it as to-read
Nov 10, 2014
Katherine Ferar
Katherine Ferar marked it as to-read
Nov 01, 2014
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CRAIG CHILDS is a commentator for NPR's Morning Edition, and his work has appeared in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Men's Journal, Outside, The Sun, and Orion. He has won numerous awards including the 2011 Ellen Meloy Desert Writers Award, 2008 Rowell Award for the Art of Adventure, the 2007 Sigurd Olson Nature Writing Award, and the 2003 Spirit of the West Award for his body of work.
More about Craig Childs...
The Animal Dialogues: Uncommon Encounters in the Wild The Secret Knowledge of Water House of Rain: Tracking a Vanished Civilization Across the American Southwest Finders Keepers: A Tale of Archaeological Plunder and Obsession Apocalyptic Planet: Field Guide to the Ever-Ending Earth

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