Six walks : in the footsteps of Henry David Thoreau

by Shattuck, Ben, 1984-

Format: Print Book 2022
Availability: Available at 7 Libraries 7 of 9 copies
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On an autumn morning in 1849, Henry David Thoreau stepped out his front door to walk the beaches of Cape Cod. Over a century and a half later, Ben Shattuck does the same. With little more than a loaf of bread, brick of cheese, and a notebook, Shattuck sets out to retrace Thoreau's path through the Cape's outer beaches, from the elbow to Provincetown's fingertip.

This is the first of six journeys taken by Shattuck, each one inspired by a walk once taken by Henry David Thoreau. After the Cape, Shattuck goes up Mount Katahdin and Mount Wachusett, down the coastline of his hometown, and then through the Allagash. Along the way, Shattuck encounters unexpected characters, landscapes, and stories, seeing for himself the restorative effects that walking can have on a dampened spirit. Over years of following Thoreau, Shattuck finds himself uncovering new insights about family, love, friendship, and fatherhood, and understanding more deeply the lessons walking can offer through life's changing seasons.

Intimate, entertaining, and beautifully crafted, Six Walks is a resounding tribute to the ways walking in nature can inspire us all.

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Life is intense for Shattuck. Emotions run deep, his dreams are harrowing. An artist, curator, and writer, he is humbled and awed by nature, curious about people, and amusingly self-deprecating. He lives with admirable fluidity and creativity, even when confronted by a painful and alarming hand injury and the miseries of Lyme disease. It is grief over a failed relationship that propels him to trace the paths taken by Thoreau, whose passionately precise accounts of his epic walks and close observations are fundamental to American nature writing. With deep family roots in Massachusetts, Shattuck knows the New England terrain Thoreau so assiduously explored, but his expeditions tend to veer into precarious, often amusing predicaments requiring the kind intervention of strangers. As Shattuck chronicles the six ambitious walks he takes over the years in warmly confiding prose and expressive, richly textured drawings, he also recounts passages in Thoreau's life and quotes from his writings, notes how invaluable Thoreau's meticulous documentation of the living world is to scientists, and marks how dramatically human endeavors and climate change have altered the land since Thoreau took its measure. Shattuck's involving and poignant chronicle of immersions in nature, misadventures, family history, and a love story is shaped by his preternatural gift for discerning the essence of each moment and each place."
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "In this resplendent debut, Pushcart Prize winner Shattuck traipses from quiet elegy to compassionate celebration through a series of jaunts patterned after Henry David Thoreau's rambles. Hoping to escape "a constellation of grief" over a breakup, Shattuck set out one May to walk the beaches of Cape Cod, retracing the footsteps of Thoreau. What started as a distraction turned into six separate treks, vividly brought to life here in Shattuck's poetic retelling. On his first outing, a serendipitous meeting delivers him to the oysterman's cottage where Thoreau slept 150 years earlier. When Shattuck's later diagnosed with Lyme disease, he's spurred to tackle two hikes: up Maine's Katahdin and Massachusetts's Wachusett mountains--where Thoreau walked after his brother's death and, like Shattuck, found "consolation" in the stars, "displac bulging selfhood, under the shadow of such urgent beauty as the night sky." After getting engaged, Shattuck returned to his roamings with a lighter heart, traveling to his family's ancestral home in Sakonnet Harbor; the northernmost point of Thoreau's Maine walk; and Cape Cod again, where he reconciled his grief as a necessary "period of fragility that brings your emotions closest to the surface." Echoing Thoreau's brilliant reflections with his own, Shattuck distills the healing power of nature into a narrative that's a pure pleasure to wander through. Fans of Annie Dillard will find this mesmerizing. Agent: Claudia Ballard, WME. (Apr.)"
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Additional Information
Subjects Shattuck, Ben, -- 1984- -- Travel -- New England.
Thoreau, Henry David, -- 1817-1862 -- Influence.
Walking -- New England.
New England -- Description and travel.
Travel writing.
Personal narratives.
Publisher Portland, Oregon :Tin House,2022
Edition First US edition.
Other Titles 6 walks
Language English
Description 279 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 259-277).
ISBN 9781953534040
Other Classic View