The Solitude of Thomas Cave by Georgina Harding (Bloomsbury, 2007, 237pp.)
A sailor makes a bet with his crew-mates that he can spend a winter alone on an Arctic island. They leave him with food, shelter, and weapons, never expecting to see him again. In the remaining pages, he experiences hunger, freezing temperatures, vivid hallucinations, and meets the true face of God Himself. The wisdom he gains from nature is an attitude of calm in the face of the sheer chaos represented by the unadulterated wilderness. The language is poetic and gorgeous, the tale itself a lyrical commentary about humanity’s impact on nature. But don’t be fooled by the paltry 200-page length of this little book. This tale of a seventeenth century Moses is by no means a light read: it’s about as dry and slow-moving as parables come.
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