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Cabin Fever: A Suburban Father's Search for the Wild
Synopses & Reviews
A modern Walden—if Thoreau had had three kids and a minivan—Cabin Fever is a serious yet irreverent take on living in a cabin in the woods while also living within our high-tech, materialist culture.
Try to imagine Thoreau married, with a job, three kids, and a minivan. This is the serious yet irreverent sensibility that suffuses Cabin Fever, as the author seeks to apply the hermit-philosopher’s insights to a busy modern life.
Tom Montgomery Fate lives in a Chicago suburb, where he is a husband, father, professor, and active member of his community. He also lives in a cabin built with the help of friends in the Michigan woods, where he walks by the river, chops wood, and reads Thoreau by candle light.
While he divides his time between suburbia and the cabin, Fate’s point is not to draw a line between the two but to ask what each has to say about the other. How do we balance nature (picking blackberries) with technology (tapping BlackBerrys)? What is revealed about human boundaries when a coyote wanders into a Quiznos? Can a cardinal protecting chicks from a hungry cat teach us anything about instincts and parenting? Fate seeks a more attentive, deliberate way of seeing the world and our place in it, not only among the trees and birds but also in the context of our relationships and society.
A seasonal nature memoir, Cabin Fever takes readers on a search for the wild both in the woods and within ourselves. Although we are often estranged from nature in our daily lives, Fate shows that we can recover our kinship with the earth and its other inhabitants if we are willing to pay attention.
In his exploration of how we are to live “a more deliberate life” amid a high-tech, material world, Fate invites readers into an interrogation of their own lives, and into a new kind of vision: the possibility of enough in a culture of more.
"Seeking the solace of 'a deliberate life,' Fate, a professor of English at the College of DuPage, writes of his measured take on Thoreau's iconic words, turning his back on a hectic world in his new book. With a cabin in the wilderness of southwest Michigan, he explains his core beliefs after reading Thoreau's Walden in his introduction: 'a deliberate life is a search for balance in mind and body and spirit amid our daily lives.' If the reader can get past such feel-good, cozy chapter titles as 'Picking Blackberries' or 'A Box of Wind,' there are real gems of insight and wit on the diverse topics of appreciating nature, love and sex, technology, parenthood, the solitary life, art, self-reliance, reason and aging. Never snide or condescending, Fate blends the significant milestones of marriage and family in a high-tech BlackBerry society with the joys and shortcomings of being mindful in both cultures, allowing the reader to sample how others live away from the hectic rat race in a pseudo-spiritual environment. (June)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A modern Walden--if Thoreau had had three kids and a minivan--Cabin Fever is a serious yet irreverent take on living in a cabin in the woods while also living within our high-tech, materialist culture.
About the Author
Tom Montgomery Fate is the author of four books, including the collection of essaysBeyond the White Noise and the spiritual memoir Steady and Trembling. His essays have appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, Orion, Iowa Review, Fourth Genre, Christian Century, and many other publications, and they often air on NPR's Living On Earth and Chicago Public Radio. He is a professor of English at College of DuPage in Illinois, where he lives with his family. His cabin is in southwest Michigan.
Table of Contents
Deliberate Life A Search for Balance
Chapter 1 Picking Blackberries Nature and Technology
Chapter 2 In Plain Sight Vision and Revision
Chapter 3 Fathers Watching Sons Windows and Mirrors
Chapter 4 Saunter Reason and Instinct
Chapter 5 The Gay Cardinal Love and Instinct
Chapter 6 Cabin Fever Alone and Lonely
Chapter 7 In the Time of the Cicada Patience and Passion
Chapter 8 Mushrooms Love and Sex
Chapter 9 Lake Glass Childhood and Parenthood
Chapter 10 A Box of Wind Nature and Religion
Chapter 11 Trimming Trees Self-Reliance and Self-Destruction
Chapter 12 Constructing Truth Wood and Word
Chapter 13 Falling Apart Death and Birth
Chapter 14 Coyotes at the Mall Predators and Prey
Chapter 15 The Art of Dying Art and Activism
Chapter 16 Cougars in the Corn Facts and Truths
Chapter 17 A Familiar Darkness Desperation and Deliberation
Chapter 18 Traveling at Night Seers and Seekers
Chapter 19 Slow Pilgrim Walking and Praying
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