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In the Wilderness

Coming of Age in Unknown Country

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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.

From Publishers Weekly

01 April 1996 – 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 logger in the Idaho lumber camps, and her earliest memories were of family joy in the forests. But a different kind of wilderness soon enveloped them when her father lost his job and they moved to town, where he worked as a trucker, joined the Pentecostal church and was transformed into a withdrawn, authoritarian figure whose faith required the subservience of his wife and two children. Barnes was an exemplary child until she was 12, when, jealous of the liberties her classmates enjoyed, she entered a secret life of rebellion: questioning her faith's tenets of salvation and damnation, of male authority and female submissiveness; tempted by vanity; confused by her burgeoning sexuality. Her parents discovered her plan to run away and sent her to live with friends whose kindness helped her recapture her faith and return to her family--though not without unresolved conflicts. Nonjudgmental and generous, Barnes's portrait of her parents, the fundamentalist milieu and her own spiritual questing is deeply moving. FYI: This book was the recipient of the 1995 PEN/Jerard Fund Award for a work in progress by an emerging female writer.
In the Wilderness
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  • 12,99 €
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biography
  • Published: 01 April 1996
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Print Length: 272 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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