LEIGH FORBES: Books of all Sorts

A Field Guide to Getting Lost

by Rebecca Solnit.

A Field Guide to Getting Lost morphs between memoir and social history, with a fair bit of philosophy along the way.

Rebecca Solnit writes about growing up in California, and much of the book focusses on the region around San Fransisco and Los Angeles. Among other things, she considers the early European explorers, desert, blue, falling, Native Americans, capitalism, turtles, ecology, story-telling, immigration, dreams, youth, loss, and more. She often describes pictures or landscapes, and I wish there had been some illustrations to go along with the text. It might have been felt that pictures would break the narrative – it does flow beautifully – but detours to the Internet break it more.

“A Field Guide to Getting Lost” is a poetical brain-dump; one I feel I absorbed rather than read. It gave me some joyous a-HA moments – Solnit’s metaphor for a relationship/house being one of them – though overall, it seems less about being lost and more about finding; but what you find is up to you. Definitely a keeper.

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