A field guide to getting lost

209 pages

English language

Published Feb. 11, 2006 by Penguin Books.

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4 stars (18 reviews)

Written as a series of autobiographical essays, A Field Guide to Getting Lost draws on emblematic moments and relationships in Rebecca Solnit's life to explore issues of uncertainty, trust, loss, memory, desire, and place. Solnit is interested in the stories we use to navigate our way through the world, and the places we traverse, from wilderness to cities, in finding ourselves, or losing ourselves. While deeply personal, her own stories link up to larger stories, from captivity narratives of early Americans to the use of the color blue in Renaissance painting, not to mention encounters with tortoises, monks, punk rockers, mountains, deserts, and the movie Vertigo. The result is a distinctive, stimulating voyage of discovery.

4 editions

A Field Guide to Getting Lost

4 stars

1) "Leave the door open for the unknown, the door into the dark. That's where the most important things come from, where you yourself came from, and where you will go."

2) "Lost really has two disparate meanings. Losing things is about the familiar falling away, getting lost is about the unfamiliar appearing. There are objects and people that disappear from your sight or knowledge or possession; you lose a bracelet, a friend, the key. You still know where you are. Everything is familiar except that there is one item less, one missing element. Or you get lost, in which case the world has become larger than your knowledge of it. Either way, there is a loss of control."

3) "There is no distance in childhood: for a baby, a mother in the other room is gone forever, for a child the time until a birthday is endless. Whatever is …

Review of 'A field guide to getting lost' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

Little did I know that this book would be the perfect follow up to Maggie Nelson’s Bluets, which I read last month. Together they’d form a beautiful Venn diagram made solely of different shades of blue. This is my first foray into the writing of Rebecca Solnit – poignant and beautiful, and full of appreciation for the natural world and our ephemeral place in it – and I’m now hooked. In this book Solnit explores the different ways in which a person can get lost, both physically and psychologically, the power of wandering and of deliberately shedding or simply losing one’s sense of place, and the inestimable value of the unknown. In addition to overlapping themes regarding the color blue, A Field Guide to Getting Lost and Bluets are poetic kindred in their heady interweaving of history, art, philosophy, and personal memoir. Just as with Bluets, I found frequently myself …

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  • Voyages
  • Arts
  • BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Personal Memoirs
  • Description and travel
  • LITERARY CRITICISM / Subjects & Themes / Women
  • Travel
  • Philosophy
  • BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Artists, Architects, Photographers
  • Art
  • Landscapes
  • Philosophie


  • United States
  • West (U. S.)
  • États-Unis
  • West United States
  • West (U.S.)