Fate seeks a more attentive, deliberate way of seeing the world and our place in it, not only in the woods, but also in the context of our relationships and society.
Product Code: 3746
ISBN: 9780807000984
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Beacon Press
Published Date: 04/17/2012
Pages: 224
Availability: Not currently available.
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Price: $16.00

Try to imagine Thoreau married, with a job, three kids, and a minivan. This is the sensibility—serious yet irreverent—that suffuses Cabin Fever, as the author seeks to apply the hermit-philosopher’s insights to a busy modern life. Tom Montgomery Fate lives in a Chicago suburb, where he is a husband, father, professor, and active member of his community. He also lives in a cabin built with the help of friends in the Michigan woods, where he walks by the river, chops wood, and reads Thoreau by candlelight. Fate seeks a more attentive, deliberate way of seeing the world and our place in it, not only in the woods but also in the context of our relationships and society. In his search for “a more deliberate life” amid a high-tech, material world, Fate invites readers into an interrogation of their own lives, and into a new kind of vision: the possibility of enough in a culture of more.

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Author’s Note
Deliberate Life A Search for Balance

Chapter 1 Picking Blackberries Nature and Technology
Chapter 2 In Plain Sight Vision and Revision
Chapter 3 Fathers Watching Sons Windows and Mirrors
Chapter 4 Saunter Reason and Instinct
Chapter 5 The Gay Cardinal Love and Instinct

Chapter 6 Cabin Fever Alone and Lonely
Chapter 7 In the Time of the Cicada Patience and Passion
Chapter 8 Mushrooms Love and Sex
Chapter 9 Lake Glass Childhood and Parenthood
Chapter 10 A Box of Wind Nature and Religion

Chapter 11 Trimming Trees Self-Reliance and Self-Destruction
Chapter 12 Constructing Truth Wood and Word
Chapter 13 Falling Apart Death and Birth
Chapter 14 Coyotes at the Mall Predators and Prey
Chapter 15 The Art of Dying Art and Activism
Chapter 16 Cougars in the Corn Facts and Truths
Chapter 17 A Familiar Darkness Desperation and Deliberation
Chapter 18 Traveling at Night Seers and Seekers
Chapter 19 Slow Pilgrim Walking and Praying


“I grew fond fast of this book, and it’s hard not to. Fate is a man who brings coyotes and cougars to the page in a thoughtful, beautiful prose that’s readable, lyrical, and begs the reader to slow down and take their time. The book is a wide, deep river, best observed with a cup of coffee as the sun’s coming up over the ridge and the night’s crickets have given way to the scratching and calls of the morning’s towhees.”—Terrain.org

“Tom Montgomery Fate’s charming volume is about his search for meaning in the suburbs, a search that takes him to the woods of Michigan where he builds his own cabin…What makes Cabin Fever such good reading is that the author doesn’t try to be a modern-day Thoreau…The magic of Cabin Fever is the author’s willingness to move back and forth between the two worlds of hectic suburbs and the more isolated nature-soaked cabin.”—Christian Century

Cabin Fever is a quietly stunning book, organized around the four seasons, much as Walden is structured…His elegant and rhythmic prose is about embodiment and the fight we must make to swim against the current that seeks to sweep us away from such bold and incarnational living…Not all books invite us to enter their lives in so intimate a fashion, to join our own patterns of living with theirs. But Fate’s admission that he is a “slow and bungling pilgrim” serves as an admonition and a blessing to his readers to go and live, even if imperfectly, this one blessed life we’ve been given.”—Brevity

“May touch a chord in a desperate urban-dweller's heart … may also show … that Mother Earth's bosom is not always welcoming to mere humans.” —Wall Street Journal

“His account of a quest for a “more deliberate life,” inspired by a re-reading of Thoreau’s Walden several years ago, is refreshingly modest but also aching with yearning for the Home we all desire.”—Christianity Today

“His frank, poignant, and funny essays grapple with the quandaries inherent in the effort to live a balanced life. Fate’s clarion musings on place, time, family, social responsibility, the wild, and the civilized are thoughtful and affecting in their revelations of how complex and precious life is.” —Donna Seaman, Booklist, starred review, May 1, 2011

"Never snide or condescending, Fate blends the significant milestones of marriage and family in a high-tech BlackBerry society with the joys and shortcomings of being mindful in both cultures." —Publishers Weekly

“Tom Montgomery Fate resonates with Thoreau without needing to be Thoreau. His Cabin Fever echoes Walden without pretense. It is a book for our time by a writer of our time. Fate proves himself against his transcendental literary ancestor and, in the process, gives us a contemporary book of thought, hope, and promise. Cabin Fever is an antidote to the ills of the day.”—Jeffrey S. Cramer, editor of Walden: A Fully Annotated Edition and curator of the Thoreau Institute

“Quiet, beautifully written reflections on nature and the mindful life, laced with the thoughts and writings of Thoreau.” —Kirkus

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