Synopses & Reviews
In November of 2000, after the presidential election but before the results were handed down by the Supreme Court, John Daniel climbed into his pickup, drove to a cabin in the Rogue River Gorge, and quit civilization for a proscribed time. The strictures set up were severe: no two-way human communications, no radio, no music, no news, no clocks, and no calendars. He left his wife behind and moved into a cabin sure to be snowed-in just after his arrival, where he lived in complete isolation until spring, without even his cat as a companion.
He was intent on not hearing a human voice other than his own for the next six months. Thoreau's Journals were there, of course, for instruction and inspiration. In addition to the physical rigor of working in isolation, Daniel had assumed a hard spiritual task in deciding to live alone: to confront his now dead father. Rogue River Journal is the result, with writing as skilled as Jon Krakauer's a remarkable memoir of both vivid present and past interwoven.
"Daniel's time alone is potent, a dilation on the amusements and scorchings of the simple life, and a distillation of the strange, human group that was his family." Kirkus Reviews
"As he watches winter turn to spring, the author makes peace with his deceased father forgiving him his rages and alcoholism and becomes more lenient toward his own, younger self in a lovely melding of memory and natural history." Booklist
"This honest, satisfying memoir is a fine gift from a writer whose ghosts accepted his invitation to the madrone-shaded homestead above the Rogue." The Oregonian
"Sustained by the natural world, Daniel grapples with the demons of midlife and finds wholeness in this funny, wry and searingly honest book." Los Angeles Times
"Part memoir, part family portrait, part natural history, part Zen journal, John Daniel's study of solitude, self, and father is intricate, straightfacedly funny, unflinchingly honest, and as satisfying in the end as a long stay beside the great green river that helped give it birth." David James Duncan
"Rogue River Journal is a coup, a page-turner that is thoughtful and beautifully expressed. And John Daniel is a national treasure, writing to the word from his Northwest home in language muscular and true." Kathleen Dean Moore
"Rogue River Journal is a witty and wise testament by a man writing at the height of his powers." Scott Russell Sanders, author of The Force of Spirit
"Rogue River Journal touches, more than a little, the fountains of glory in wild lands skirting the Rogue River. It touches another kind of glory also, and with equal elegance the past, the relationship between a son and a father, as John Daniel recalls, with honesty, flamboyance, tenderness and true regard for his father's life, his own journey toward manhood. It is an extraordinary book."
In November of 2000, after the Presidential election but before the final results were determined, John Daniel climbed into his pickup, drove to a cabin in the Red River Gorge, and quit civilization. The strictures were severe. No two-way human communications no radio, no music, no clocks or calendars, not even his cat. He would leave his wife behind and put himself into a cabin sure to be snowed-in just after his arrival, and he would live in complete isolation until spring.
He was intent on not hearing a human voice other than his own for the next six months. Thoreau is never far away from ideas like these, and Thoreaus Journals had provided both instruction and inspiration. For in addition to the physical rigor of living in isolation, John Daniel intended to do spiritual work while living alone. A writer living alone is bound to write. And that he did. The result, The Rogue River Journal, is a remarkable memoir.
About the Author
John Daniel divides his time between the foothills of the Oregon Coast Range and Canton, New York. He is the author of The Trail Home, Looking After, and two poetry collections.