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A Field Guide To Getting Lost Paperback – 6 Apr 2006

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books; Main - Re-issue (new cover) edition (6 April 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841957453
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841957456
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 10,903 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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Half Man, Half Book on 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 of 3 people found the following review helpful By rachaelov on 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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107 of 123 people found the following review helpful By Ben Whitehouse VINE VOICE on 16 May 2009
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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Format: Kindle Edition
A thought provoking collection of essays on the concept of being lost.

Meandering between childhood memories, species extinction, travel, absent friends, departed loved ones and different approaches to living, there is great truth in the thinking that to find yourself, you must first try and get lost.

This isn’t my normal kind of reading, but I enjoyed it and the writing makes it a personal experience, with plenty of time for contemplation.

I was lost in these musings and am the better for it.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By bob on 2 Aug. 2013
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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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr. G. Morgan on 16 Jan. 2015
Format: Paperback
There's a remarkable aspect to the positive reviews I see of this book: they are either extremely short, saying that the respondent liked the book, the packing was good and little more; the others, fewer in number but as revealing, are surprised by the range of references in Solnit's account and respond very positively what is clearly the style and manner of a belles lettrist, that unfashionable beast. It is as if the former are lost for words in the face of a writer who in fact has no more in her locker than most with a decent college education and who have continued reading beyond it; that and the fact that Solnit's is calculated High Style. The latter if not surprised, are at least as delighted. But what has she actually to say? Well nothing very remarkable; if you are familiar with the Western Canon nothing here will surprise you, especially if you are fond of, say, Montaigne and know the Naipaul brothers' brilliant non fiction and the catholic brio of Adam Phillips. I think that this book would in fact be more impressive if it was not quite so contrived, she will bring the baroque a bad name. It may say much about me that I was put off by the contrived writing style of the book, but without question hers is prose for those who mistake self-conscious phrase-making for good writing - Bernard Levin syndrome - it is actually rather precious. I couldn't finish this book, it was too overdone. She tries too hard, which did not work, not for this reader: that her books' titles bear little if any relation to the contents - Geoff Dyer, her British equivalent, does the same - is an example of what might kindly be called her 'poetic' sensibility, or at least how she confects it.
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