A collection of transcendent, lyrical essays on life in the American West, the classic companion to Gretel Ehrlich’s new book, Unsolaced
“Wyoming has found its Whitman.” —Annie Dillard
Poet and filmmaker Gretel Ehrlich went to Wyoming in 1975 to make the first in a series of documentaries when her partner died. Ehrlich stayed on and found she couldn’t leave. The Solace of Open Spaces is a chronicle of her first years on “the planet of Wyoming,” a personal journey into a place, a feeling, and a way of life.
Ehrlich captures both the otherworldly beauty and cruelty of the natural forces—the harsh wind, bitter cold, and swiftly changing seasons—in the remote reaches of the American West. She brings depth, tenderness, and humor to her portraits of the peculiar souls who also call it home: hermits and ranchers, rodeo cowboys and schoolteachers, dreamers and realists. Together, these essays form an evocative and vibrant tribute to the life Ehrlich chose and the geography she loves.
Originally written as journal entries addressed to a friend, The Solace of Open Spaces is raw, meditative, electrifying, and uncommonly wise. In prose “as expansive as a Wyoming vista, as charged as a bolt of prairie lightning” (Newsday), Ehrlich explores the magical interplay between our interior lives and the world around us.
About the Author
Gretel Ehrlich is the author of This Cold Heaven, The Future of Ice, Heart Mountain, Facing the Wave, and The Solace of Open Spaces, among other works of nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. Ehrlich studied at Bennington College and UCLA film school. She lives in Wyoming.
Praise for Gretel Ehrlich and The Solace of Open Spaces:
"Any one of [its 12 chapters] stands beautifully on its own . . . She brings the long vistas into focus with the poise of an Ansel Adams." —The New York Times Book Review
"A stunning rumination on life on Wyoming's High Plains . . . Ehrlich's gorgeous prose is as expansive as a Wyoming vista, as charged as a bolt of prairie lightning." —Newsday
"Ehrlich's best prose belongs in a league with Annie Dillard and even Thoreau. The Solace of Open Spaces releases the bracing air of the wilderness into the stuffy, heated confines of winter in civilization." —San Francisco Chronicle
"Ehrlich [is] a gifted essayist and nature writer." —The Washington Post
"Vivid, tough, and funny . . . an exuberant and powerful book." —Annie Dillard