Synopses & Reviews
Award-winning literary journalist Chip Brown tells the story of the life and death of a brilliant, complicated man-an outdoorsman with a troubled soul, a pioneer of the New England wilderness, who sought rebirth in nature only to end his own life on a snowy mountaintop in a gesture of chilling premeditation.
Guy Waterman checked out of his former life as a Capitol Hill speechwriter and father of three at midlife to pursue the passion that promised to deliver him from his demons: mountain climbing. Along with his second wife, he built a cabin nestled in the mountains of Vermont, without modern conveniences of any kind, in order to live purely on the land and for the land, and thereby to redefine himself in the extremes of frontier life. An accomplished jazz pianist who could recite hours of poetry, a genuine eccentric beloved by many, Waterman became the dean of the homesteading movement and the foremost historian of the mountains of the northeast. So when he methodically carried out his mountain suicide, those who loved him were left to wonder whether it was the action of a noble man, painfully aware of the encroachments of age and determined to die with dignity, or that of a tragic figure doomed by the code of the Hard Man-a man who could not find the strength to be weak and forgive his own limitations.
Chip Brown writes with exhilarating clarity about the thrill of mountain climbing and with compassion and intelligence about the mystery that begins when a life ends. Good Morning Midnight is a gripping story of survival in nature, with an existential heart.
"[A] thoughtful meditation on the virtues of knowing when it's time to check out....Though the whole matter is a little ghoulish, as Brown willingly admits...this quiet contemplation hits a stride that manages to honor its subject's life, and life in general." Kirkus Reviews
"[A] vibrant portrait of multitalented, enigmatic outdoorsman Guy Waterman, whose son Jon's climbing-related death was chronicled in Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild....Mapping an existential journey through life and death, Brown has blazed a poetic path into Waterman's soul." Publishers Weekly
"[A]n engrossing and finely crafted narrative of Waterman's life....Good Morning Midnight is a deep exploration of a life lived as close to nature as humanly possible, and Brown deftly renders the day-to-day goings-on of an extraordinary existence..." Robert Schroeder, The Washington Post
"Good Morning Midnight benefits greatly from the author's empathy and occasionally suffers from it, too. Brown's searching reflections on Waterman's psychology...can be distracting....Brown does a masterful job unearthing the roots of Waterman's suicide." Brad Wieners, Slate.com
Penned by an award-winning literary journalist, his gripping story of survival in nature is also a profound exploration of the cost of living on one's own terms.
About the Author
A former staff writer for The Washington Post, Chip Brown has written for The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Harper's, Men's Journal, Esquire, Outside, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and Condé Nast Traveler. He has won numerous awards for his journalism, including a National Magazine Award for feature writing.