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Migrations to Solitude

3.49  ·  Rating Details ·  65 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
Why do we often long for solitude but dread loneliness? What happens when the walls we build around ourselves are suddenly removed—or made impenetrable? If privacy is something we can count as a basic right, why are our laws, technology, and lifestyles increasingly chipping it away?

These are somong the themes that Sue Halpern eloquently explores in these profoundly origina
Paperback, 212 pages
Published February 2nd 1993 by Vintage (first published 1992)
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Sep 07, 2016 Samantha rated it did not like it
I started out being disappointed in this book and ended up hating it. it is one of a pair of books with solitude in the title I bought at my quaker meeting's used book sale a year ago this june. I'm going to read the next one next and I hope it is better.

so this is a series of essays - quite journalistic essays - that touch on really, more than solitude, privacy. she visits a hospice, she visits a monastery, she visits an icu, she goes camping by herself (but leaves because she sees too many bo
Oct 18, 2013 Pam rated it liked it
I have had this book around for some time, but have not read it.. bought it pre-kindle years. I took it on holiday last week as I did not want to read a book in an electronic device, and being near the sea I thought that essays on solitude would be a good read. I enjoyed most of the stories in this book, but since it was published in 1993, many of those discussions - especially about the government and technology would have changed drastically - so it was also a look back in time. So perhaps it ...more
Jun 16, 2016 Zade rated it liked it
This book was not at all what I expected, based on it's title and blurb. It's really not about solitude, or at least not directly. It's more about privacy, I suppose, although the author chooses very political topics through which to address the issue--abortion rights, AIDS, the right to die and how modern medicine treats the dying, just to name a few. Although the book is over 20 years old, the topics she chooses are still pertinent and, of course, the problem of privacy has become even more pr ...more
Oct 03, 2013 Sean rated it really liked it
This book consists of an incredibly beautiful (and touching) set of essays on the topics of privacy and solitude. Halpern looks at what we do to set us apart from the rest of society--or what we do to escape it and how it imposes itself upon us. The book contains a dozen essays in which Halpern talks about experiences like visits to an AIDS hospice, visiting a Trappist monastery, or spending 24 hours in the Intensive Care Unit of a busy hospital in New York.

Even more than the dignity and courage
Oct 19, 2015 Christopher rated it liked it
A nice collection of stories that I enjoyed reading steadily amid a busy stretch of graduate school. Although Halpern's endnotes spoke much of privacy as a theme in her stories, I found that the theme of solitude resonated more strongly with me... and how it, like privacy, can be seen as a privilege, if not a right. From the cells of a monastery to those of a jail, from the isolated wilds of the forest to those neared only for a short time, I found her reflections on the human desire for seclusi ...more
Feb 26, 2011 Eve rated it liked it
Almost done ... I started this with a very different conception of what the books was about and find that its not being what I anticipate makes me a bit disappointed. The essays are interesting for the most part and provocative in their own ways but I also am finding them uneven.

Finished ... still is in the interesting yet not compelling realm for me ... the idea of solitude and personal experiences with solitude (forced or chosen) remains interesting but I'm still not sure about what I gained
Nov 29, 2010 Susan rated it it was amazing
This book sucked the life out of me, but in a good (?) way. I got vwry engrossed in each of the essays. Halpern explores the differences between being alone and being lonely as well as the the difference between solitude and solitary confinement. The diversity of settings, people and emotions shown in this book of essays is impressive. It is hard to imagine that "alone" can have so many meanings.
This was not an easy or casual read, but I would recommend it to anyone who wants to understand a bi
Cath Van
Jul 11, 2011 Cath Van rated it really liked it
Shelves: essays
First time I read Migrations to Solitude was after it being published in 1992,being attracted to it by it's title mostly. Really liked the different views on solitude the author took. Now I chose one essay: In Solitude for Company, about the Trappist monastery of Getsemani near Louisville, Kentucky. Very interesting thoughts about our soul's need for privacy and solitude.
Oct 06, 2009 Mmars rated it liked it
Halpern's essays start out strong and provocative and her writing is consistently good, very descriptive and almost poetic at times, but by the end of the book it felt that she was stretching the boundaries of her subject and the final chapter of personal solitude when camping could have been much more moving and somehow didn't tie all the thread together as well as I'd hoped.
Oct 12, 2010 Ammie rated it liked it
Some essays that were "nice" without being profound, some that were interesting without being particularly emotionally engaging, and a few that had teeth and raised some interesting questions. A nice mix, actually, and fairly light but moderately though-provoking.
May 06, 2012 Luann rated it liked it
Shelves: essays
The book has a dated feel at times especially when it is talking about issues of technology and government intriusion into privacty (written in the early 90's) but it is overall well written, thoughtful and I enjoyed thinking about what it has to say about solitude, connection, silence.
Feb 09, 2013 Pamela rated it liked it
Clear prose with a few stretches of nice, meditative moments. Overall, however, the book did not feel cohesive. There were a lot of short, random chapters that didn't add up to a complete whole.
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