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The Solace of Open Spaces by Gretel Ehrlich


Rating: 5/5

What It’s About:

A stunning collection of personal observations that uses images of the American West to probe larger concerns in lyrical, evocative prose that is a true celebration of the region.


The Review

I’ve really been enjoying reading essays this year. The Solace of Open Spaces was a wonderful collection. I read half of it earlier in the year and picked it back up this month. That’s one nice thing about essays…you can start and stop it fairly easily. This works out for me because I usually read in small moments throughout my day when I can squeeze some time in. Essay collections are usually have a low page count, which is another reason why I’ve been drawn to them lately.

There were many things about The Solace of Open Spaces that left an impression on me. Gretel Erich wrote these essays while she was living on a ranch in Wyoming. The description of the landscape, people, and culture surprisingly reminded me so much of the area where I live in west Texas. The collection absolutely struck a chord in my heart. It was also interesting to see the many ways that it was different.

Ehrlich’s writing style was minimal and lyrical at the same time. Her writing depicted a life of honest simplicity but also complex beauty. I LOVED it. One of my favorite things to do for vacations is to visit small quiet towns in mountain areas, and this book gave me a taste of that experience without leaving my house. It also was a nice respite from busy complicated life and encouraged me to slow down my mind. I recently read Big Two-Hearted River by Ernest Hemingway and the reading experience was very similar.

If you are looking for a quiet and mediative read that includes nature, animals, and endearing relationships , I highly recommend The Solace of Open Spaces.

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