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Islands, the Universe, Home

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  155 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
A collection of deeply personal essays that illuminate the relationship between the human and the natural worlds by the acclaimed author of The Solace of Open Spaces. Another of Ehrlich's books--Heart Mountain--was made into a movie starring Robert Redford.
Paperback, 196 pages
Published October 1st 1992 by Penguin Group USA (first published 1991)
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The language seemed forced. Too prosy and too much reliant on sayings by " ", fill in the blank. The essays were not focused on anything ever. I don't crave linearity necessarily but the essay needs a thesis. Hers never had either. Her previous book which I just started seems much better.

I got this book because of the Islands concept, an idea near and dear to me as an evolutionary tool. I have always liked and explored the broadest interpretations of "island" and Gretel Ehrlich makes a very bri
Mar 10, 2010 Kate rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-in-2010
In the opening canto of "Man With the Blue Guitar," the poet Wallace Stevens plays philosopher John Locke's famous phrase "things as they are" against the refrain "the blue guitar," symbol of the lyric imagination. A similar interchange of outer reality and inner vision inspires the savory prose of Gretel Ehrlich's latest essay collection, her first since "The Solace of Open Spaces"

Islands, the Universe, Home begins and ends in Wyoming, but goes beyond, to the Channel Islands off the California
Feb 28, 2015 Britta rated it did not like it
I had such a hard time with this book. I read this for class and I was the only person in my class that really didn't like it. Ehrlich is all over the place in her writing and I had such a hard time focusing. That's not to say she's a bad writer--she is, in fact, quite talented. A lot of my classmates appreciated this lack of focus, but I just couldn't do it. I came out more confused than anything else. I couldn't really even tell you what this book is about. If I learned anything while reading ...more
Jul 23, 2008 Kirsten rated it liked it
i wanted to love this but didn't--maybe i'm not giving enough to my reading these days. i've been tearing through books, wanting them to thrill me, maybe not trying hard enough to be thrilled. i wanted these essays to impress me as much as her essay, 'the solace of open spaces'--i wanted more of her elemental lyricism. oh dear, i wanted this, i wanted that--maybe that's what got in the way.
Nov 01, 2014 Sasha rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book floored me. It deserves a second reading before I write a review here.

It is rare I am hit so powerfully by a book, and particularly by a work of nonfiction. I tend to fall in love with nonfiction because of its subject, not its prose, but the language is rich and full of ache and the essays resonate deeply in my body.
Nov 14, 2015 Ed rated it it was amazing
Hard science meets Eastern philosophy in essays that describe fascination with the sacred in the natural world, mainly Wyoming and Japan but also California and Hawaii. For people who like science, nature writing, Eastern religions, the American West.
Ann Michael
Dec 15, 2007 Ann Michael rated it liked it
I was a little disappointed in this one. I really loved The Solace of Open Spaces and A Match to the Heart, and while these essays (in Islands...) are fine, they didn't wow me as much as her other stuff.
May 22, 2011 Katie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I love how Gretel Ehrlich writes, how she sees the world, how she weaves together nature and humanity in prose. Reading her words is so natural to me, like drinking a glass of water -- no struggle, just simple joy.
Terri Kempton
Jan 09, 2013 Terri Kempton rated it liked it
I wanted to love this, but found Erlich almost frantic in her writing. The pacing is off and she skims through deep thought after deep thought without actually pausing to reflect, or allowing us to reflect for her.
Sep 06, 2013 Judy rated it liked it
I enjoy her writing style. This did hold up to Solace in Open Spaces. Her reflections on Wyoming country are the best. Her experience of the yellowstone fire in 1989 was especially poignant.
Mar 25, 2013 Deanette rated it really liked it
This is another excellent collection of essays and observations on living, nature, etc from Gretel Ehrlich.
Sue Lipton
Jun 18, 2014 Sue Lipton rated it liked it
Here's what I think must have happened: Horace Kephart went to Wyoming, married Annie Dillard, and they had this daughter named Gretel……..
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Aug 23, 2007 Eric rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everything.
These contains some of the finest essays I've ever read. Try it.
minervasowl rated it really liked it
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Nancy Voris
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Gretel Ehrlich is an American travel writer, novelist, essayist, and poet born on a horse ranch near Santa Barbara, California and educated at both Bennington College in Vermont and UCLA film school. After working in film for 10 years and following the death of a loved one, she began writing full-time in 1978 while living on a Wyoming ranch where she had been filming. Her first book, The Solace o ...more
More about Gretel Ehrlich...

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“Some days I think this one place isn’t enough. That’s when nothing is enough, when I want to live multiple lives and be allowed to love without limits. Those days, like today, I walk with a purpose but no destinations. Only then do I see, at least momentarily, that everything is here.” 5 likes
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