SETTLED IN THE WILD:
* 2011 Maine Literary Award for Best Nonfiction Book (Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance)
What People Said About Settled In the Wild:
"Shetterly is a writer whose precise eye is directly connected not just to a quicksilver mind but also a good, generous heart. Her prose is spare, elegant, rich in metaphor, and haunting."
- Richard Russo, author of That Old Cape Magic
"With this tender and tough book, Shetterly creates an offering of native awareness that deserves to be placed alongside Aldo Leopold, Marjorie Stoneman Douglas, and Noel Perrin, all writers of community, insight and resolve."
- Terry Tempest Williams, author of Finding Beauty in a Broken World
“There is magic in the way Shetterly has proceeded into her life---with daily awe and hunger---and there is generosity, eloquence, and great intelligence in this telling. Settled in the Wild is a lovely book, beautiful and enchanting, ocean-deep with the revelatory powers of discovery.”
- Rick Bass, author of Why I Came West
"With wisdom and leavening humor, Susan Hand Shetterly tells tales of a small town and the woods around it, of her family and neighbors, two-legged and four, of the sound of wind and the cacophony of silence."
- Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods
"Settled in the Wild draws a beautiful portrait of life lived in utter harmony with the natural world - life as it ought to be lived."
- Alice Waters
"What a beautiful little book. It reads like you're listening to water flowing over stones. Shetterly writes with great detail and understanding, and you feel immersed in her world."
- Lynne Cox, author of Swimming to Antartica
Publishers Weekly: Starred Review
“I live on land that has not surrendered the last of its wildness," Shetterly (The New Year's Owl: Encounters with Animals, People and the Land They Share) writes of her home in rural Maine. “It keeps secrets, and those secrets prompt us to pay attention, to look for more." In her first essay collection in more than 20 years, she beautifully renders some of what she's learned in the decades since she and her then husband moved into an unfinished cabin “idealistic, dangerously unprepared, and, frankly, arrogant", she can see now. Most of these essays, however, focus on life after she's settled in, when she's learned to listen for the sounds of the coming spring through her open bedroom window or impulsively stands down a bobcat that's chased a baby rabbit into the middle of the road. Shetterly's eye for poetic detail is exquisite, especially in longer essays such as the story of how she nursed an injured raven back to health, after which it set up home on her roof and became best friends with her terrier. But she writes about her neighbors (even those she admits she never really knew) with equal grace and empathy. Let's hope it's not another quarter-century before her next collection arrives.
Indelible images abound in Shetterly's stellar collection of distinctive and revelatory essays about her life spent in and along Maine's rugged woods and coasts. A wounded garter snake is delicately placed in her coat pocket and nursed back to health in a soup pot. A blinded raven cavorts with her pet dog in a primal dance that prepares it for its return to the wild. While ice creeps and mud seeps, Shetterly waits and watches with the patience and passion of a natural-born naturalist. Nor is her precisely trained eye focused only on the life that teems in the skies and seas around her. People, too, are cause for consideration: the fisherman who encounters whales and swordfish; the garbage collector who repairs what others reject. Shetterly's penetrating observations resonate with an undeniable sense of what matters most in life: the preservation of self, the protection of wilderness, and appreciation for the passage of time in a world where speed, haste, and destruction trump leisure, care, and restoration.
- Carol Haggas