Synopses & Reviews
Whether we live in cities, suburbs, or villages, we are encroaching on nature, and it in one way or another perseveres. Naturalist Susan Shetterly looks at how animals, humans, and plants share the land--observing her own neighborhood in rural Maine. She tells tales of the locals (humans, yes, but also snowshoe hares, raccoons, bobcats, turtles, salmon, ravens, hummingbirds, cormorants, sandpipers, and spring peepers). She expertly shows us how they all make their way in an ever-changing habitat.
In writing about a displaced garter snake, witnessing the paving of a beloved dirt road, trapping a cricket with her young son, rescuing a fledgling raven, or the town's joy at the return of the alewife migration, Shetterly issues warnings even as she pays tribute to the resilience that abounds.
Like the works of Annie Dillard and Aldo Leopold, Settled in the Wild takes a magnifying glass to the wildness that surrounds us. With keen perception and wit, Shetterly offers us an education in nature, one that should inspire us to preserve it.
"'I live on land that has not surrendered the last of its wildness,' Shetterly (The New Year's Owl: Encounters with Animals, People and the Land They Share) writes of her home in rural Maine. 'It keeps secrets, and those secrets prompt us to pay attention, to look for more.' In her first essay collection in more than 20 years, she beautifully renders some of what she's learned in the decades since she and her then husband moved into an unfinished cabin 'idealistic, dangerously unprepared, and, frankly, arrogant, she can see now.' Most of these essays, however, focus on life after she's settled in, when she's learned to listen for the sounds of the coming spring through her open bedroom window or impulsively stands down a bobcat that's chased a baby rabbit into the middle of the road. Shetterly's eye for poetic detail is exquisite, especially in longer essays such as the story of how she nursed an injured raven back to health, after which it set up home on her roof and became best friends with her terrier. But she writes about her neighbors (even those she admits she never really knew) with equal grace and empathy. Let's hope it's not another quarter-century before her next collection arrives." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Beautiful and enchanting, ocean-deep with the revelatory powers of discovery." --Rick Bass, author of Why I Came West Rick Bass
"With wisdom and leavening humor, Susan Hand Shetterly tells tales of a small town and the woods around it, of her family and neighbors, two-legged and four, of the sound of wind and the cacophony of silence." --Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods
"Graceful and resonant . . . A personal undertaking for a son who admits he never understood his unassuming, penny-pinching immigrant father, a man who spent three decades obsessively cataloging the words of his moribund mother tongue. Sabar once looked at his father with shame, scornful of the alien who still bore scars on his back from childhood bloodlettings. This book, he writes, is a chance to make amends"- New York Times Sunday Book Review Terry Tempest Williams
"Voices like Susan Hand Shetterly's are soothing . . . Shetterly puts a hand on your forearm and says, come walk along the Maine coast. Let's consider other species, eels and hummingbirds." -- Los Angeles Times
Dallas Morning News
"Shetterly shares her journey of hope, loss and discovery. Along the way, she is transformed by the calls of birds and the 'delicate pins-and-needles sounds' of ice crystals, by the aroma of rich soil, by the challenges and gifts of an unforgiving nature." --Dallas Morning News
"Shetterly provides a unique window into a world of wonder." --Boston Globe
This is a delightful book about living in the woods, enjoying what's outside your window and finding pleasure in taking the time to notice the little things right in front of us." --Columbus Dispatch
About the Author
Susan Hand Shetterly, a former wild bird rehabilitator, has written about wildlife and wildlands for over twenty years. She is the author of the essay collection The New Year's Owl
and several children's books. She was a contributing writer to the Maine Times
and her pieces have appeared in Birder's World
, Audubon Magazine
, and Down East