In The Wilderness by Kim Barnes

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Synopsis

Poet Kim Barnes grew up in northern Idaho, in the isolated camps where her father worked as a logger and her mother made a modest but comfortable home for her husband and two children. Their lives were short on material wealth, but long on the riches of family and friendship, and the great sheltering power of the wilderness. But in the mid-1960's, as automation and a declining economy drove more and more loggers out of the wilderness and into despair, Kim's father dug in and determined to stay. It was then the family turned fervently toward Pentecostalism. It was then things changed.

In the Wilderness is the poet's own account of a journey toward adulthood against an interior landscape every bit as awesome, as beautiful, and as fraught with hidden peril as the great forest itself. It is a story of how both faith and geography can shape the heart and soul, and of the uncharted territory we all must enter to face our demons. Above all, it is the clear-eyed and moving account of a young woman's coming of terms with her family, her homeland, her spirituality, and herself.

In presenting Kim Barnes the 1995 PENJerard Fund Award for a work-in-progress by an emerging female writer, the panel of judges wrote that "In the Wilderness is far more than a personal memoir," adding that it stands "almost as a cautionary example of the power of good prose to distinguish whatever it touches." Indeed, In the Wilderness is an extraordinary work, courageous, candid, and exquisitely written.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About Kim Barnes

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Kim Barnes is the author of two memoirs and two previous novels, including A Country Called Home, which received the 2009 PEN Center USA Literary Award in fiction and was named a best book of 2008 by The Washington Post, the Kansas City Star, and The Oregonian. She is the recipient of the PEN/Jerard Fund Award for an emerging woman writer of nonfiction, and her first memoir, In the Wilderness, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Her work has appeared in a number of publications and anthologies, including The New York Times; MORE magazine; The Oprah Magazine; Good Housekeeping; Fourth Genre; The Georgia Review; Shenandoah; and the Pushcart Prize anthology. Barnes is a professor of writing at the University of Idaho and lives with her husband, the poet Robert Wrigley, on Moscow Mountain.
 
Published December 8, 2010 by Anchor. 272 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction, Sports & Outdoors, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for In The Wilderness

Kirkus Reviews

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in other ways, like Yeats's dancer indistinguishable from the dance, she herself is the complicated and continuing story of the American struggle with raw wilderness and with the dark night of the soul (her mother finds her as a teenager slumped against the side of her bed, having fallen asleep p...

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Publishers Weekly

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Barnes here recalls growing up in the '70s as a child in a born-again religious family and her struggles between her faith and her need for acceptance by her more worldly classmates. Her father was a

Apr 01 1996 | Read Full Review of In The Wilderness

Publishers Weekly

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Barnes here recalls growing up in the '70s as a child in a born-again religious family and her struggles between her faith and her need for acceptance by her more worldly classmates.

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Examiner

Kim Barnes takes the leap into the nonfiction genre with her memoir entitled In the Wilderness: Coming of Age in Unknown Country, available now at the Flint Public Library.The book begins with a tale of female independence from before Barnes was even born, setting the tone for the rest of the book.

May 15 2011 | Read Full Review of In The Wilderness

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