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If Thoreau had written Walden as a narrative fiction and designed his protagonist in the fashion of a Hermann Hesse character then it would have resembled this novelHe was alone in the wilderness a wilderness that seemed deep and forever but was surrounded by a world filled with peopleEli Sylvan is on a uest to rediscover the wilderness of his youth He spends his weekends camping and fishing in the wild mountains of Wyoming and then on Mondays he returns to the daily grind of the professional workforce Feeling alienated from his friends and coworkers Eli spends his evenings painting scenic landscapes but this only intensifies his longing to be completely immersed in nature Then he meets Lamara a young woman who has a sophisticated flair and a deep affinity for the outdoors Together they develop a plan to resign from their careers in Wyoming and move into an isolated northern Minnesota forest But the challenge of escaping the comforts of society is greater than either anticipated and they must prepare themselves for the possibility of failure

10 thoughts on “This Side of a Wilderness

  1. says:

    THIS SIDE OF A WILDERNESS by Daniel J RiceI expected this to be an easy read about the woods I was only partially right I never thought the metaphor of a crumbling leaf could make me feel so deeply human but that’s exactly what happened to me at the end of this book I couldn’t help it I felt like that leaf This story is deeply insightful and ripe with metaphor There were several passages when I set the book down to stare out the window and think That said there are parts that seemed unnecessary while reading but then after a couple pages I was shattered by just one sentence I’m not exactly sure how I feel yet about this book it seems like an inspiring story about a man and woman fulfilling their dream but there is some element of sadness that overshadows everything I really enjoyed the journal section of part II when I got fully into the characters head while he lived alone in the wilderness I wanted to extract the characters from part III and return them to part II so they could always be happyI can't think of any books I've read recently to compare this title to but The River Why and Desert Solitaire come to mind The reason I gave this title 5 stars is because even though it is fiction it reads as a true story that I can imagine myself living Of course I would have to be willing to give up my job and my house and my friends and then move into the woods alone Maybe someday

  2. says:

    The story builds momentum and then reaches it's peak when he is living alone in the Minnesota Forest and uestioning everything about life He ponders the deep philosophical meanings of life and man's relationship with wilderness Take your time and read it slow you'll be glad to learn what he discovers

  3. says:

    Unexpectedly reminiscent of my younger yearsI was actually bored at the beginning of the book However as I continued to read e book improved The descriptions of the north woods were great Not much of a climax but if you like nature writing you will like is story

  4. says:

    There are some real nuggets of truth in this novel Mr Rice has clearly spent some time in the wilderness either literally or figuratively and pondered the meaning of our lives in that context For that alone this book is worth the timeUnfortunately his understanding of people is much less developed In the mechanical sense this leads to a lot of awkward dialog and character interaction Much importantly it leaves the thesis only half developed The picture of man in nature is incomplete if it ignores the society in manI wouldn't hesitate to add this to a reading list exploring the relationship between nature and man but it would go somewhere in the Further Reading section