Mountain Lines: A Journey Through the French Alps

Jonathan Arlan. Skyhorse, $24.99 (254p) ISBN 978-1-5107-0975-1
First-time author Arlan, a self-described “intensely lazy person,” decides at age 30 to leave “a boring career behind to travel alone” on a walk that starts on the southern tip of Lake Geneva and continues to through the French Alps and finally to the Mediterranean Sea—an idea that he stumbles across while Googling “various permutations of the search terms ‘long,’ ‘mountain,’ ‘hard,’ and ‘walk.’” What he finds—and what he admirably and amiably describes in this memoir—is a journey of self-discovery that encompasses“the breathtaking pain that blasted upward from the soles of my feet” after his first walks; the beauty that he sees almost every day on the road (“the light on the mountains turned every direction I looked into gorgeously rendered landscape paintings”); and the surprising similarity to parts of his journey to his native Kansas (“The scenery moves so slow that you never feel like you are making any progress”). In the end, one of the pleasures of the book is that Arlan strives for no grand pronouncements as he reaches the end of his trail, just stating the satisfaction of accomplishing a goal and a reminding himself “to take it slow, to not rush.” (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/09/2017
Release date: 02/01/2017
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