A Field Guide to Getting Lost was the first book I’ve read from Rebecca Solnit. I was very curious to read one of her books cause I’ve heard a lot about how great she was. Oh I cannot tell you how disappointed I am. I couldn’t wait and shared my disappointment on Instagram and that I don’t intend to reread her; I received different comments with various book recommendations. And of course “Rebecca Solnit is a good writer, you shouldn’t give up with just one book.” messages made me think about it a bit more. However, I noticed that those who wrote these messages did not read this book.
A Field Guide to Getting Lost was a book that I had no pleasure in reading because it was disconnected, incoherent in many parts, hard to follow and way too American. And the prose was just okay. My answer to the question of what I was expecting from the book was to hear different things about getting lost. Did I hear it? Yes, I heard, but I found myself reading different forms of getting lost rather than the act of getting lost. Unfortunately, I could not go beyond feeling like a stranger because most references belong to America. I was lost because I’m not American.
Getting lost in American culture
We are all familiar with American culture. However, I am trying to avoid things that are particularly related to America. (Of course, I can’t escape as much as I want because their culture is consumed almost everywhere in the world.) But this book seemed to have been written by a person who hasn’t any readers anywhere else in the world. It wasn’t universal, at all.
The problem is not only that the book is way too American. It is hard to follow and, I guess that’s because it is not that interesting. When I finished the book, there wasn’t much left to linger on. Maybe a few things about the colour blue will stick with me. I can’t recommend this book to anyone but Americans. If you are an American, read this, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it a lot. But I plan to take a look at other Solnit books in the future. Do you have a suggestion?
About the book: A Field Guide to Getting Lost
In this investigation into loss, losing and being lost, Rebecca Solnit explores the challenges of living with uncertainty. A Field Guide to Getting Lost takes in subjects as eclectic as memory and mapmaking, Hitchcock movies and Renaissance painting.
Beautifully written, this book combines memoir, history and philosophy, shedding glittering new light on the way we live now.
About the author: Rebecca Solnit
Rebecca Solnit is an American writer. She has written on a variety of subjects, including the environment, politics, place, and art. Solnit is a contributing editor at Harper’s Magazine, where bi-monthly she writes the magazine’s “Easy Chair” essay.