"Gone Feral" memoirist Novella Carpenter had three books to recommend for those who might like to ruminate further on the choices of those who, like her father, isolate themselves from human society and attempt to "go it alone." The most famous is the Henry David Thoreau classic "Walden Pond," which, of course, many of us found thought-provoking when we were exposed to it in high school.

Less widely known, but apparently highly respected by the cognoscenti is "Pan," an 1894 novel by Norwegian author Knut Hamsun (who won the Nobel Prize 26 years later) that is a powerful retrospective narrated by a complex man who forged his own life in the woods with some disastrous results. The novel, which is online in both The Gutenberg Project and in Google Books, has themes and prose that some have characterized as reminiscent of Dostoevsky and anticipatory of D.H. Lawrence and Rainier Maria Rilke.

Carpenter also recommends "a book I love about a woman 'going feral,' 'The Jump-Off Creek,' by Molly Gloss." Published in 1989, it is a novel about a single woman struggling with her own homestead in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest in the 1890s.

-- Sue Gilmore, Staff

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