A Separate Place: A Family, a Cabin in the Woods, and a Journey of Love and Spirit

David Brill, Author
David Brill, Author Dutton Books $23.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-525-94497-3
Reviewed on: 09/04/2000
Release date: 09/01/2000
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Twenty years ago Brill wrote a book of essays (As Far As the Eye Can See) describing the six months he spent hiking the Appalachian Trail, when he found himself by forging a connection to the natural world. In an attempt to recapture that experience and to deal with the breakup of his marriage, Brill, a freelance journalist who currently manages a communications office at the University of Tennessee, again sought out the wilderness by building a log cabin on East Tennessee's Cumberland Plateau. This account of the year he spent working on the cabin is a hodgepodge of the problems confronted by his construction crew, interspersed with anguished emotional outpourings over his deteriorating relationship with his wife. Susan keeps insisting on a separation, but Brill is never quite clear why she is dissatisfied, apparently attributing their estrangement to the hectic urban lifestyle they led. Deeply devoted to his two daughters, aged 10 and eight, he worries obsessively about the impact of a divorce on them. For spiritual comfort he turns to the ""Christian Brotherhood,"" a devout group of male friends. Although Brill's emotional turmoil is understandable, the repetitive passages of self-absorbed whining soon wear thin. After his marriage finally ends, Brill takes a leave of absence from his job. He retreats to his cabin, ""hopeful that the ensuing six months would lead through pain and sadness to a place of healing""--which, amid some bittersweet twinges, he finds. Agent, Scott Waxman. (Sept.)
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