Alpine Apprentice: A Memoir

Sarah Gorham. Univ. of Georgia, $24.95 trade paper (208p) ISBN 978-0-8203-5072-1
Gorham revisits her rebellious teen years in a remote Swiss boarding school with a deft authorial hand, blending the internal reflections of a bildungsroman novelist, the technical writing of a mountain geologist, and the outsider observations of a travelogue writer. She traffics in well-worn psychological terrain: dreams, her quest for a suitable mother figure, and most prominently, the elusive longing, or Sehnsucht, that permeates the whole book. But her experience is as fresh as new snow in Switzerland, especially if one didn’t come of age there. Photos, drawings, and letters from her school days combine with innovative food-centered musings to create a multimedia touch. Half a century removed from her experiences at school, she is as unflinching with herself and those who helped shape her as she is in describing the foreboding, brutal beauty of the Alps. Even as she wrestles with ambivalence for a place that sends mixed messages about community and control, her affection for the nation and school that were her temporary home is obvious. Gorham takes great care not to rush her story, foreshadowing a transformative accident at the school with subtlety and persistence while going on repeated Wanderungen. Photos & diagrams. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/16/2017
Release date: 03/01/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 208 pages - 978-0-8203-5071-4
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