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Publisher's Summary

In the best-selling tradition of Cheryl Strayed’s Wild and Helen MacDonald’s H Is for Hawk, a stunning, inspirational memoir from an award-winning poet who ventures into the wilderness to seek answers to life’s big questions and finds her way back after losing everything she thought she needed.

During a difficult time, 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 Mary Oliver, Karen’s rich and compulsively listenable memoir is as much an inward as it is an outward pilgrimage. Her pursuit of solace and salvation by shedding trivial ties and living in close harmony with nature, along with her account of finding community and love, is sure to resonate with all of us who long for meaning and deeper connection. Rough Beauty is a luminous, lyric exploration of and homage to her 40 seasons in the mountains, embracing the unpredictability and grace of living intimately with the forces of nature while making peace with her own wildness.

©2018 Karen Auvinen (P)2018 Simon & Schuster

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A wonderful read. Grounded earthy but poetic prose

I found this book impossible to put down. an elegant masterpiece. Best read in decades.have just finished reading the Audible version, which was beautifully and sensitively read by the narrator. One of the most exquisite earthy grounded and yet elegantly written books I have read in a long time. I listened to the novel as I walked my own 'young dog', George, through the national park near our home in Australia each morning. As Karen describes her day with Elvis the rescued Husky, the foxes, bears and other mountain creatures for company - I watched huge kangaroos bounding away at dawn from the tracks we walk. I related to Karen's story so deeply on many levels. READ IT and grow richer. I have now ordered the hard back copy as well as this will remain a long time classic on my shelf. A book to keep and share forever. Thank you Karen. Please write more books. Your prose is of the best of these times.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Author's Memoir

First, I need to say that Ms. Auvinen writes beautifully. However, I think I was expecting something a little different in this title. This memoir spends a lot of time on her painful childhood with a harsh father and a hurting family and her ultimate escape for solitude in the Colorado mountains. Overall I would say the story is more about her than about the mountains in which she lives. We are given a glimpse what life in those mountains is like, what the townsfolk are like but, it's really about the author's thoughts and feelings as she travels through these years.
There were two things that took away from my overall enjoyment of the book. First was the reader's voice. In my mind the author has a strong voice, yet the reader was somewhat nasally and ended each sentence with a gravelly down tone. I don't know why, but it quickly began to annoy me.
Secondly, I cried for the author's love of her dog. It was a very special relationship, no doubt. I have dogs and I get that. But, there was no similar emotion for her mother's life threatening illness. That came across as more of an annoyance to the author and something that forced her to have to interact with her family. It was hard for me to empathize with her story when she showed more love and heartbreak for her dog than for her mother.
All in all, I do like her writing style and I will look for other titles by Ms. Auvinen.

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One of my favorites of 2018

I love this book in so many ways, the poetic descriptions of the landscapes, the strong female friendships, the way it broke my heart.....Please read this book, but be aware that you will be sobbing in all the best ways...