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MARCH: Time

#124: Oct. - Dec. 2013 (Non-Fiction)
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Chris OConnor

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MARCH: Time

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The Consolations of the Forest: Alone in a Cabin on the Siberian Taiga
Sylvain Tesson

MARCH: Time
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heledd
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Six months doesn't really qualify as being a hermit. Besides, he admits to missing having someone to share the splendour with. I was wondering what makes a 'real' hermit and came across this
http://listverse.com/2013/04/11/10-modern-day-hermits/
My favourite is the one that lived in the middle of the Ring Road. Another thing a lot of them have in common is their sheer creativity
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heledd
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Pictures of the lake are incredibly beautiful
http://iliketowastemytime.com/2012/04/1 ... ia-23-pics
I always find lakes sp peaceful, but this one sometimes groans, shudders, explodes as if it were a monster
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heledd
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Don't you just love it when one thing leads to another. Just downloaded Walt Whitman's 'Leaves of Grass'
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giselle

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heledd wrote:Six months doesn't really qualify as being a hermit. Besides, he admits to missing having someone to share the splendour with. I was wondering what makes a 'real' hermit and came across this
http://listverse.com/2013/04/11/10-modern-day-hermits/
My favourite is the one that lived in the middle of the Ring Road. Another thing a lot of them have in common is their sheer creativity
Thanks for posting this link on hermits, quite a hoot. And yes they are creative and resourceful, which may have something to do with their rejection of society in the first place ... needing to break out of the limitations imposed by society. I wonder why they are all men? Do you think there are female hermits .. ? And they all have beards, well as far as the pictures show and except for the strange leopard dude . Perhaps beards are time honoured tradition among hermits? Or maybe its just too much trouble to shave? or no real reason to shave?

I agree that our author is not really a hermit but I suppose the isolation relative to his usual life in France would feel hermit-like to him. I've been trying to figure out if he is running away from something or toward something .. or maybe neither?
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I read further along that his girl friend was to accompany him originally, but pulled out. There is that strange episode where he walks or two hours, heedless of the danger to himself. He is well published travel writer, so apart from fulfilling an ambition, he also had an eye on future book sales. There seem to be a lot of Catholic hermit women. I was wondering if women chose this life style in the past whether they would be accused of being witches. I found one interesting article though
http://siberiantimes.com/other/others/n ... ya-lykova/
Last edited by heledd on Sat Oct 19, 2013 2:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Started last night and already wondering how serious Mr. Tesson is about this goal. It seems he thinks this is going to be a bit of a lark based on such comments as "experiencing an existence centered on simple gestures...fishing for my dinner". Living during a winter in Siberia is a far cry from simple gestures and with my experience camping for weeks at a time, fishing can be stressful and take up quite a bit of the day. While he is bringing pasta and tabasco, might find fishing a bit harder than he is expecting.
Not sure whether he is naive or sold his publisher on a book idea.
I find myself starting to be irritated by this seemingly glib chapter one, so these are just first impressions; but the comment that 15 kinds of ketchup makes him want to withdraw from the world makes him seem petty and sheltered from real problems in the world.
After dreaming of being a hermit for 6 months he seems to be talking himself out of it “trying not to think about it”. His detailed list does not contain minor things like clothes or soap, again why winter in Siberia?
back to the book, maybe i will find it to be truly enlightening after reading further??
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giselle

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I share some of the skepticism expressed here about the authors intentions. I'm trying to figure out if this is a travel/backwoods adventure or a spiritual journey? He seems to hint at the latter but I'm just not seeing that. Perhaps he was aiming at some spiritual renewal but the reality of Siberia with its woodsman and vodka and russian culture generally has resulted in a somewhat different experience than he expected. And if his girlfriend was to accompany him but then didn't, I'm sure this has affected his whole outlook on it and really drive home the intensity of loneliness and feeling at a loss. Or maybe this trip is just a bit of a lark. But lark or not, I like the way he threads literary comments and observations throughout, I've found this interesting.
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His writing is great, but he is no hermit, at least not what I understand a real hermit to be. A hermit withdraws from society, but he took his computer and his satellite phone, thus being able to communicate with the world...his list of supplies, food, vodka, books, is telling me he intends to enjoy as many human comforts as possible, but pretending to be a hermit. In my opinion, this is a man whose ego is so inflated that he calls others "old hags", "Jackasses", and I'm sure if I read further I'll find other such name calling. I find myself not liking this man.
He talks about "all the ingredients of the imagery of Siberian deportation are there..." The Siberian deportees were in labor camps, starving, sometimes tortured, with no hope of escaping, no food, NO VODKA and NO CIGARS...Mr. Tesson can leave at will and end his adventure whenever he likes...he has little idea of reality.
I'm not sure I want to read the rest of this book...but I would like to find out what his conclusion after this experience was. Maybe I should read just the last chapter.
I'm pretty sure he did not do this for spiritual reasons...although he might have found them at the end to his own surprise.
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Crystalline: I agree with your comments about Tesson. I think his stay at the cabin in Siberia is a romanticized adventure and if he is finding anything spiritual it's at the bottom of his bottle of vodka .. :D He could do well to remember that he is a visitor in their country and lay off on the criticism and name calling. I also wonder how much he understands Siberia and its people? Of course, he's free to express his point of view but I have got tired of reading it. I made it to 'May' and put the book down.
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