Rough Beauty : Forty Seasons of Mountain Living
by Karen Auvinen


Overview - In the bestselling tradition of Cheryl Strayed's Wild and Helen MacDonald's H Is for Hawk, Karen Auvinen, an award-winning poet, ventures into the wilderness to seek answers to life's big questions with "candor and] admirable courage" (Christian Science Monitor).

Determined to live an independent life on her own terms, Karen Auvinen flees to a primitive cabin in the Rockies to live in solitude as a writer and to embrace all the beauty and brutality nature has to offer. When a fire incinerates every word she has ever written and all of her possessions--except for her beloved dog Elvis, her truck, and a few singed artifacts--Karen embarks on a heroic journey to reconcile her desire to be alone with her need for community.

In the evocative spirit of works by Annie Dillard, Gretel Ehrlich, and Terry Tempest Williams, Karen's "beautiful, contemplative...breathtaking debut] memoir honors the wildness of the Rockies" (Publishers Weekly, starred review). "Rough Beauty offers a glimpse into a life that's pared down to its essentials, open to unexpected, even profound, change" (Brevity Magazine), and Karen's pursuit of solace and salvation through shedding trivial ties and living in close harmony with nature, along with her account of finding community and even love, is sure to resonate with all of us who long for meaning and deeper connection. An "outstanding...beautiful story of resilience" (Kirkus Reviews, starred review), Rough Beauty is a luminous, lyric exploration, "a narrative that reads like a captivating novel...a voice not found often enough in literature--a woman who eschews the prescribed role outlined for her by her family and discovers her own path" (Christian Science Monitor) to embrace the unpredictability and grace of living intimately with the forces of nature.

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More About Rough Beauty by Karen Auvinen
 
 
 
Overview
In the bestselling tradition of Cheryl Strayed's Wild and Helen MacDonald's H Is for Hawk, Karen Auvinen, an award-winning poet, ventures into the wilderness to seek answers to life's big questions with "candor and] admirable courage" (Christian Science Monitor).

Determined to live an independent life on her own terms, Karen Auvinen flees to a primitive cabin in the Rockies to live in solitude as a writer and to embrace all the beauty and brutality nature has to offer. When a fire incinerates every word she has ever written and all of her possessions--except for her beloved dog Elvis, her truck, and a few singed artifacts--Karen embarks on a heroic journey to reconcile her desire to be alone with her need for community.

In the evocative spirit of works by Annie Dillard, Gretel Ehrlich, and Terry Tempest Williams, Karen's "beautiful, contemplative...breathtaking debut] memoir honors the wildness of the Rockies" (Publishers Weekly, starred review). "Rough Beauty offers a glimpse into a life that's pared down to its essentials, open to unexpected, even profound, change" (Brevity Magazine), and Karen's pursuit of solace and salvation through shedding trivial ties and living in close harmony with nature, along with her account of finding community and even love, is sure to resonate with all of us who long for meaning and deeper connection. An "outstanding...beautiful story of resilience" (Kirkus Reviews, starred review), Rough Beauty is a luminous, lyric exploration, "a narrative that reads like a captivating novel...a voice not found often enough in literature--a woman who eschews the prescribed role outlined for her by her family and discovers her own path" (Christian Science Monitor) to embrace the unpredictability and grace of living intimately with the forces of nature.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781501152283
  • ISBN-10: 1501152289
  • Publisher: Scribner Book Company
  • Publish Date: June 2018
  • Page Count: 320
  • Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.05 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Biography & Autobiography > Personal Memoirs
Books > Biography & Autobiography > Women
Books > Biography & Autobiography > Environmentalists & Naturalists

 
BookPage Reviews

Hope in the ashes

Poet Karen Auvinen’s memoir, Rough Beauty, opens on a beautiful March morning, when Auvinen, out delivering the mail on her rural Colorado route, notices the deep blue of the sky, the signs of early spring and smoke from a fire—a fire that turns out to be her own house burning. She’d recently settled outside the Rocky Mountain town of Jamestown, but now, Auvinen can only watch as firefighters work to contain the fire, which destroys everything she owns.

Auvinen then drops back to detail her difficult adolescence: an abusive dad, an impassive mom, a peripatetic childhood. But she dispatches with her youth quickly, focusing instead on the years that followed the devastating fire and describing life at the edge of the wilderness. “Up on the mountain, summer was easy,” she writes. “The world was green and glorious. Aspens clacked in the breeze and hummingbirds whirred across meadows gone crazy with wildflowers. Mornings dawned open and wide blue, but by noon, the sky blackened and thunder rumbled.”

As she describes her patchwork of jobs, her friends and a relationship gone bad, Auvinen paints a picture of quirky Jamestown, home to 300. She works part-time as a cook at Jamestown’s Mercantile Café and tries to help her aging mother, who has begun a slow decline. Auvinen isn’t afraid to show her own prickly character or her loneliness. But the heart of this memoir is her relationship with her rescue dog, Elvis, a Husky mix with a penchant for wandering. As Elvis nears the end of his life, Auvinen finds a new (human) relationship and her own happy ending.

 

This article was originally published in the June 2018 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
BAM Customer Reviews