boehnlei, October 31, 2011 (view all comments by boehnlei)
This book was comfortingly wonderful, though a bit dense to get through quickly. I greatly enjoyed learning about the natural history that Erlich weaves in amongst her personal stories of recovering from near death by lightning. Her style and goals in writing reminded me a lot of what I've read of Terry Tempest Williams. But Erlich also incorporates spiritual and personal musings on faith throughout which made me contemplate what I would have done in her situation. A good purchase and I'm glad I read it. I want to read more of what Erlich has to say!
DC, November 20, 2008 (view all comments by DC)
Sort of cheating, but here is a line from the book: "Some Eskimos say that compared to Shamans, ordinary people are like houses with extinguished lamps: they are dark inside and do not attract the attention of the spirits."* This book will tell you what it's like to be struck by lightening, and survive, and proceed living through the physical and metaphysical shock of it. The author shows us what we should never have to experience, yet we all benefit from knowing - a calling from the natural world that is impossible to ignore - a touch that often kills, out of the blue. We now know we are not in charge, yet our honest heart-felt response to life has never been more invited.
*p. 147 New Directions paperback edition
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by Publishers Weekly,
"In 1991 the author of this lyrical narrative of resurrection was struck by lightning near her Wyoming ranch. The effects of this electrocution were long-lasting, requiring intensive medical attention for the physical and mental trauma that included sensory impairment....Ehrlich's inspirational self-discovery calls attention to other lightning survivors as, 'carved from a ruined body,' she returns to the ranch with new life."
by Library Journal,
"Acclaimed for The Solace of Open Spaces, Ehrlich here reveals that scary things can happen in open spaces, too. She recounts being struck and momentarily killed."
by The New York Times Book Review,
"This eclectic chronicle of recovery offers excursions into neurobiology, cardiology, the lore and science of lightning, and the medical literature of lightning injury....Evocative writing and lots of interesting facts."
A powerful chronicle of a wounded womans exploration of nature and self
After nature writer Gretel Ehrlich was struck by lightning near her Wyoming ranch and almost died, she embarked on a painstaking and visionary journey back to the land of the living. With the help of an extraordinary cardiologist and the companionship of her beloved dog Sam, she avidly explores the natural and spiritual world to make sense of what happened to her. We follow as she combs every inch of her new home on the California coast, attends a convention of lightning-strike victims, and goes on a seal watch in Alaska. Ehrlich then turns her focus inward, exploring the tiny but equally fascinating ecosystem of the human heart, and culminated in a stunningly beautiful description of open-heart surgery.
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