The Consolations of the Forest by Sylvain Tesson
Alone in a Cabin on the Siberian Taiga

82%

6 Critic Reviews

His writing is elegant and urbane, full of paradoxes, aphorisms and conceits...Tongue in cheek? Perhaps. Yet, for all his playfulness, Mr Tesson is in earnest.
-The Economist

Synopsis

A meditation on escaping the chaos of modern life and rediscovering the luxury of solitude. Winner of the Prix Médicis for nonfiction, The Consolations of the Forest is a Thoreau-esque quest to find solace, taken to the extreme. No stranger to inhospitable places, Sylvain Tesson exiles himself to a wooden cabin on Siberia’s Lake Baikal, a full day’s hike from any "neighbor," with his thoughts, his books, a couple of dogs, and many bottles of vodka for company. Writing from February to July, he shares his deep appreciation for the harsh but beautiful land, the resilient men and women who populate it, and the bizarre and tragic history that has given Siberia an almost mythological place in the imagination. Rich with observation, introspection, and the good humor necessary to laugh at his own folly, Tesson’s memoir is about the ultimate freedom of owning your own time. Only in the hands of a gifted storyteller can an experiment in isolation become an exceptional adventure accessible to all. By recording his impressions in the face of silence, his struggles in a hostile environment, his hopes, doubts, and moments of pure joy in communion with nature, Tesson makes a decidedly out-of-the-ordinary experience relatable. The awe and joy are contagious, and one comes away with the comforting knowledge that "as long as there is a cabin deep in the woods, nothing is completely lost."
 

About Sylvain Tesson

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Sylvain Tesson is a writer, journalist, and celebrated traveler. He has been exploring Central Asia-on foot, bicycle, and horse-since 1997. A best-seller in his native France, he is published all over the world-and now in the United States.


Author Residence: Paris
 
Published October 1, 2013 by Rizzoli Ex Libris. 244 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Nature & Wildlife, Travel, Science & Math, Sports & Outdoors, Education & Reference, History. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Consolations of the Forest
All: 6 | Positive: 5 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Good
Reviewed by Kirkus Reviews on Jul 07 2013

A French journalist’s eloquently philosophical diary of the six months he spent fulfilling his dream to “live as a hermit deep in the woods” of Siberia.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Blake Morrison on Jun 01 2013

A winter forest is like a dead city, and it's June before spring arrives. A month later he leaves, claiming to have been changed completely. In truth, there's little sign of that...Still, in Linda Coverdale's fluent translation, he comes across as the brainiest, daftest, sternest, funniest, most companionable hermit you'll ever meet.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Jessica Holland on Jun 01 2013

While it would be easy to mock some of Tesson's haughtiest moments as typical Parisian high-mindedness, the fact he's so unabashed about his soul-searching is what sets the book apart from the typical 21st-century memoir.

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Financial Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Justin Marozzi on Jun 07 2013

Rich in poetry, charged with intensity, Consolations is magnificent, pretentious, thoroughly French, a hermit’s vodka-tossed paean to retreat and solitude.

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Star Tribune

Good
Reviewed by Malcolm Forbes on Sep 14 2013

Tesson’s engaging book, winner of the Prix Médicis for nonfiction and skillfully translated by Linda Coverdale, is “the journal of a hermit’s life,” one in which Tesson candidly records his rich experiences and reveals his equally illuminating self-discoveries.

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The Economist

Good
on Jun 29 2013

His writing is elegant and urbane, full of paradoxes, aphorisms and conceits...Tongue in cheek? Perhaps. Yet, for all his playfulness, Mr Tesson is in earnest.

Read Full Review of The Consolations of the Fores... | See more reviews from The Economist

Reader Rating for The Consolations of the Forest
75%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 31 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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