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A Field Guide to Getting Lost [Paperback]

Rebecca Solnit
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
Price: 6.29 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

6 April 2006
A Field Guide to Getting Lost is an investigation into loss, losing and being lost. Taking in subjects as eclectic as memory and mapmaking, Hitchcock movies and Renaissance painting, Rebecca Solnit explores the challenges of living with uncertainty. Beautifully written, this book combines memoir, history and philosophy, shedding glittering new light on the way we live now.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd (6 April 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841957453
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841957456
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 18 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,954 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

Nine short, brilliant essays - covers an amazing amount of ground. Go on. Start walking. Get lost. Who knows what you'll find. (Guardian)

A wonderful book,which becomes (marvellously) lost in itself . . . her writing is so lucid and sympathetic, so interested in the world around her, that she never seems lost in her herself, or self-obsessed. (The Times)

Rebecca Solnit is unquestionably one of the finest non-fiction writers of her generation. Possessed of eloquence and erudition in equal measure, her books have a wonderful capacity to lead the reader on unexpected and intriguing journeys . . . As with Solnit's previous books, there is an emotional, even a polemical dimension to these ideas. It is a rare writer who can write so excitingly with both heart and head. (Scotsman)

The book itself is a kind of wandering, and it is hard to say where we get to, but there are good things along the way. (Sunday Times)

Like Simon Schama, Solnit is a cultural historian in the desert-mystic mode, trailing ideas like swarms of butterflies (Harper’s Magazine)

Radical, humane, witty, sometimes wonderfully dandyish, at other times, impassioned and serious (Alain De Botton)

Fascinating, inspiring and beautifully written (George Monbiot)

Flawless scintillating prose, writing it is impossible not to admire (Financial Times)

Book Description

'Never to get lost is not to live'

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
100 of 114 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get lost! 16 May 2009
By Benjamin J. Whitehouse VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
Rebecca Solnit is an essayist/writer from San Francisco and author of a number of successful books including A Field Guide to Getting Lost. I remember reading the field guide a year or so ago but wasn't able to quote more than a few lines from chapter two: the blue of distance. There was something about Simone Weil, the Hindu God Krishna & light, lots and lots of light. I needed to revisit the book, time had dulled my memory of the book but I vividly remember my initial breathless reaction to the writing, having to lay the book down and pace my flat repeating the words and them settling like dust around me. I remember carrying the book with my in my shoulder bag & dipping into it in the public park close to where I live in Edgbaston, Birmingham. I didn't remain seated for long during my reading, something in Solnit's writing drove me to my feet and meant I didn't pay much attention to where I was walking. I walked safely but managed to get lost in the process, which I think Solnit would be proud of.

Rereading the book to prepare for this review has been a deeply rewarding experience and have discovered that it has subtly influenced my reading over the last year or so. Authors quoted or books mentioned have quietly appeared on my bookshelf, as if summoned by being read. I can't claim this book will change your life, I'm not even sure it's what changed mine but I can trace the resonance of phrases, the impish nudge towards uncertainty and the words "the blue of distance" back to this book.

Solnit shares from her own experience, quotes liberally from other authors and is unashamedly intelligent and rich in her writing but is in no way alienating with her prose. She holds our attention whilst writing eloquently about loss, being lost and uncertainty.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Exquisite Writing 25 Nov 2012
Format:Paperback
A series of essays and thoughts on the feelings associated with being lost or losing. I fet that that they were linked, but did not always have a flow from one to the other.

That said the writing in here is exceptional. Solnit writes with such a sense of place and purpose, and she is easily able to evoke a place or a time or a memory with consummate ease.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Worth a read 12 Dec 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A thoughtful book. I would say that it seems the title has been picked because it sounds cool, not for its relationship with the content. Many of the essays are about loss, or memories, rather than about being lost, or getting lost. Which was somewhat disappointing, since the first essay ends posing the question: `How will you go about finding that thing the nature of which is totally unknown to you?'. This is not the central theme. I can of course see how loss and being lost play off one another, but *getting* lost, *finding* the unknown; hmmm, not as much as is suggested.

But once you've put aside those raised expectations, once you realise this is not really her intention, it is mostly an ejoyable thoughtful read. Some essays are far stronger than others: illuminating and amusing on Klein, a fascinating alternative Vertigo, and the colour Blue permeates. Essays about her relationships, a lost friend (though terribly sad), and a rather poetically forced meandering about turtles did not work nearly so well. I've read she understandably hates being lumped in with the Haight Ashbury miasma, but you can see why she sometimes is.

Anyway, her questioning and seeking, her meandering tangents do indeed often illuminate and give pause for thought. It all speaks of sane person (at least, as sane as anyone one person might be). She has written more satisfyingly (Wanderlust and Muybridge), but this book is an easy going and pleasant companion.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Splendid 2 Aug 2013
By bob
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A delightful book. Spanning several topics, experiences both personal and educational; a gorgeous, slow journey through the whimsical, deep, human and joyful. It is a book that defies any clear category, and for this I am grateful.
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