A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca SolnitWhether she is contemplating the history of walking as a cultural and political experience over the past two hundred years (Wanderlust), or using the life of photographer Eadweard Muybridge as a lens to discuss the transformations of space and time in late nineteenth-century America (River of Shadows), Rebecca Solnit has emerged as an inventive and original writer whose mind is daring in the connections it makes. A Field Guide to Getting Lost draws on emblematic moments and relationships in Solnits own life to explore the issues of wandering, being lost, and the uses of the unknown. The result is a distinctive, stimulating, and poignant voyage of discovery.
Losing the plot, not the place
Though not directly related to travel in Southeast Asia, these essays make an ideal companion to any trip as they explore ideas of distance, dislocation and discovery. Solnit launches the collection with an initial essay that includes a quote that has stuck in her mind: "How will you go about finding that thing the nature of which is unknown to you? As only an assured essayist such as she can do, she then bounces across a variety of subjects, with the common thread being the idea of getting lost; at times the thread is so thin it would feel tenuous in less competent hands, but Solnit weaves it all into something fragile and wonderful. In anecdote, after fact, after pondering, after question, Solnit produces something far greater than the sum of the parts she puts together. Children are more constrained in their explorations, and at what cost to their adult selves? Getting lost has many rewards and unexpected pleasures, and is a worthy goal of itself.
Can a Burger Help Solve Climate Change?
Solnit is one of America's most prolific and original writers, providing an antidote to the contemporary European wastelands of urban psycho-geography. She has left the social wilderness of the city and her punk sensibility behind, preferring to travel to places where the wild things really are: bears, snakes, mountains and forests where one wrong move can spell death or disaster. Her friends work in search-and-rescue teams in the Rockies, where the art of finding is only gainsaid by Solnit's even cannier art of getting lost. Solnit's writing stands in the tradition of American transcendentalists such as Emerson and Thoreau, and their modern counterparts Annie Dillard and Barry Lopez. The earth is a fragile thing, losing species and ecological character. Thick description of place is one way of responding to these losses.