Who needs a GPS?: Reviewing Rebecca Solnit’s “A Field Guide to Getting Lost”


By Julia Larberg


I’m going to begin by saying this book took me seven months to get through. It’s 206 pages of anecdotes that set you loose in thought. It’s jam-packed with powerful ideas that can only be comprehended by staring at the ceiling for two hours. “A Field Guide to Getting Lost” by Rebecca Solnit is a well-written collection of nine essays covering art and politics, love affairs and deserts – to list a few topics. Solnit threads little factoids and anecdotes together to weave a beautiful tapestry that not only makes for a good book, but also a sort of guiding light to letting go and surrendering to the universe.


In her book, Solnit addresses a variety of topics from French artist Yves Klein’s leap into the void to exploring the “blue of distance;” then to the rapid extinction of many species of life. She uses the common theme of getting lost in each experience. Whether it was letting go of expectations of reality like Yves Klein had with his work or the tule elk returning from the brink in her hometown, Solnit connects each of these experiences back to the idea of consciously being lost. Losing any expectations or hopes or desire for control over reality. Making the decision to surrender yourself to the universe and what it has in store for you as a human being on the planet.


To leave with a teaser, here’s my favorite quote from the book: “Nothing is lost but you yourself, wanderer in a terrain where even the most familiar places aren’t quite themselves and open to the impossible.”


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