Synopses & Reviews
Closer to the Ground
is the deeply personal story of a father learning to share his love of nature with his children, not through the indoor lens of words or pictures, but directly, palpably, by exploring the natural world as they forage, cook and eat from the woods and sea. With illustrations by Nikki McClure.
This compelling, masterfully written tale follows Dylan Tomine and his family through four seasons as they hunt chanterelles, fish for salmon, dig clams and gather at the kitchen table, mouths watering, to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Closer to the Ground captures the beauty and surprise of the natural world — and the ways it teaches us how to live — with humor, gratitude and a nose for adventure as keen as a child's. It is a book filled with weather, natural history and many delicious meals.
"Outdoor writer and conservation advocate Tomine expresses peace, gratitude, and satisfaction with life and Mother Nature in an homage reminiscent of Noel Perrin's ruminations on the pleasures of the simple life. Writing from Bainbridge Island, Seattle, Tomine escorts readers through a year of city-assisted living; while foraging, fish, and harvesting their own foods, he and his family also enjoy the pleasures of modern life, such as assorted electronic gadgetry. The relaxed pace and contemplative nature of his discussion leads to questions, for instance about the advantages and disadvantages of sharing knowledge about local food foraging hot spots. While Tomine's memoir is decidedly food-focused (particularly on food specific to the Pacific Northwest), he also shares thoughts on matters large and small, whether the many uses of plastic buckets or the trade-offs that must be made in choosing a budget-friendly sustainable lifestyle. That their lifestyle creates quality time for the family is evident from a conversation with his daughter and sweet moments in the woods with his son. Tomine clearly feels that he has made the right choice, and readers may find themselves questioning how they can gain more of that free time. Agent: Valerie Borchardt, Georges Borchardt, Inc. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Dylan Tomine's Closer to the Ground is a pleasure to read, depicting as it does the days and seasons of a family intent on living joyfully, and providing at the same time a lively meditation on our relationship to nature. I found its buoyant, irrepressible, self-deprecating tone entirely winning, and was drawn in, happily, from page one." David Guterson, New York Times bestselling author of Snow Falling on Cedars
"Dylan Tomine--a fly-fishing ambassador for the outdoors company Patagonia--used to pursue steelhead year-round from Argentina to Southeast Alaska, but after watching wild steelhead decline and becoming a father, he returned home to the Pacific Northwest to be a blueberry farmer. Closer to the Ground
is a narrative journey that follows his family through four seasons of intentionally noticing their natural environment and getting in touch with the day-to-day rhythms of tide, weather and the seasons. Tomine emphasizes that they aren't completely off the grid; they don't live in a yurt and they aren't strangers to the mall, but they do attempt to keep in touch with their surroundings: "I can only hope that somehow, though participating in the natural world, our need to protect it becomes more urgent.
Tomine weaves his memoir with lyrical passages, family dialogues and accounts of gathering shellfish and chanterelles--as well as delicious descriptions of cooking them--in an engaging, slightly self-deprecating tone. Particularly poignant is his description of a snowy egret that he sees when returning home from a fishing trip. It reminds him of his grandfather, "a forager of spring fiddleheads and forest mushrooms, a poet who wrote a single, perfect haiku for every day he was held in the [Japanese] relocation camps." Alongside these beautiful passages are Tomine's frustrations of fishing expeditions hindered by squalls and his constant worry about chopping enough firewood to last through the winter. Closer to the Ground inspires readers to examine their own daily lives and rediscover their surroundings." --Kristin McConnell , publishing assistant, Shelf Awareness
"Dylan Tomines Closer to the Ground is a pleasure to read, depicting as it does the days and seasons of a family intent on living joyfully, and providing at the same time a lively meditation on our relationship to nature. I found its buoyant, irrepressible, self-deprecating tone entirely winning, and was drawn in, happily, from page one." --David Guterson, New York Times bestselling author of Snow Falling on Cedars
This book is an engaging memoir that follows Dylan Tomine and his family through four seasons as they hunt chanterelles, fish for salmon, dig clams and gather at the kitchen table, mouths watering, to enjoy the fruits of their labor.
About the Author
Dylan Tomine, formerly a fly fishing guide, is now a writer, conservation advocate, blueberry farmer and father, not necessarily in that order. His work has appeared in the Flyfish Journal, the Drake, Golfweek, the New York Times and numerous other publications. He lives with his family on an island in Puget Sound.