A beautiful imagined biography of a place! Doyle hints at the millions of unnoticed stories that happen around us everyday in a way that compels and iA beautiful imagined biography of a place! Doyle hints at the millions of unnoticed stories that happen around us everyday in a way that compels and increases curiosity not only for the novel, but for actual life.
"There was a church in Zag, sure there was; what self-respecting hamlet does not feature a church of some flavor? Churches being such an ancient habit among all beings, of course. Did you think that human animals were the only animals with sacred places and haunts? There are many chapels and prayer rooms and shivering places where beings go to meditate or be shriven or observe the timeless rituals or to try to crack open doors int heir hearts. Mountaintops and benches along rivers, huts and hermit cells, groves and copses, altars of stone and wind, old airplane hangars, moist wooden cabins, clearings in the woods where many feet have flattened the eager grass and many voices are raised in prayer and supplication..." (p198)
"Ideas bred easily among the human beings, and their snarls and hoots became songs and poems, and their solitary pursuits became plans and plots, and their slabs of split stone became swords and rifles, and so they commandeered the world, or tried to. But once they were dominant, their ideas began to wither, their success being poison to their dreams, and there were those among them who wondered if some subtle wildness had been the food of their greatest creativity, and if their salvation as a species, and their dwindling chance to clean and balance the world they had fouled and rattled, depended on something in them that yearned for trees and ice, waters and animals, mountains and caves, mystery and attentiveness, the humility before wonder that once they had thought merely their lot and fate, but was instead perhaps their greatest gift and grace." (p200-201)
Amazing paragraph on 202-203 that ends with "Illness is a form of prison, and being freed suddenly from prison is an unforgettable story not just for one but for everyone."
"Doesn't natural history include story and legend, what we remember and what we tell of the place and what happened here? So that a map of this side of the mountain that shows only topography and roads and rivers and elevation and human settlements is a thin and shallow map, isn't it? A better map would explore why certain places have certain names; names are the handles of story, aren't they?" (278)...more
Not very well organized, and not really all that interesting. The book pretty much concludes with "and then I realized I should write something that bNot very well organized, and not really all that interesting. The book pretty much concludes with "and then I realized I should write something that bridges the ordained and lay ministries," but that's not a thing she actually accomplishes in this book. Is this ENTIRE BOOK a prelude to her next? Obnoxious.
Not that there aren't some good gems in there. Just, as a whole, disappointing....more
Most of the book is survival stories (or lack-of-survival stories), much of it a working out of his own and his father's stories, with some brain reseMost of the book is survival stories (or lack-of-survival stories), much of it a working out of his own and his father's stories, with some brain research and some zen stuff thrown in. Would have done better with some focus (a memoir, or "The Survivor's Brain," or "Zen and the Art of Survival") instead of trying to take on so much. Also, he doesn't do an incredible job of holding tension. He values a principle he refers to as "cool" (as in, not emotionally heated), but he forgets that part of the reason these "cool" people survive is the warmth they hold of memories of loved ones and hope of seeing them again. He values "humility", but forgets to emphasize agency equally (which, even his own stories show, female survivors struggle with much more). He would have done well to set up these false dichotomies and show how the tension must be held in the middle. Finally, he speaks almost exclusively to the outdoor recreationalist, which is fine, although he is unimaginative in discussing how the valued ways of being are formed. He cites survival classes and logging hours in the sport, but most of what I get out of the book is the importance of a faith community and spiritual practices -- a realm of formation he continuously notices (most often about prayer) but forgets to value....more
This book was lent to me to lend me hope in the church. Yes, it did that, and it also -- it's just a new way of writing, it's opening, it breathes. ItThis book was lent to me to lend me hope in the church. Yes, it did that, and it also -- it's just a new way of writing, it's opening, it breathes. It's like there are four books I don't need to write because this book exists....more
She wants it to be a general project about women's appetites and desires, but it's really a working out of her own story. Which is interesting, but itShe wants it to be a general project about women's appetites and desires, but it's really a working out of her own story. Which is interesting, but it inhabits this nowhere space between memoir and broader journalistic work--it needed either more personal engagement and stories, or more research. Some gold nuggets throughout....more