Out of the Wild: Seven Years in the Wilderness

Charlie Paterson. Charlie Paterson, $14.99 trade paper (184p) ISBN 978-1-980-245-54-4
Paterson explores the unexpected spiritual growth he experienced while trying to build a home and wilderness lodge for tourists in the remote rainforest of New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park in this raw account. Unfortunately, the author buries the novelty of his experience beneath mundane detail, giving almost equal time to his struggles with bureaucracy as his encounters with nature. Paterson’s lifestyle is unique and definitely not for the squeamish. He describes in detail deer hunting, having to scrape fly eggs and maggots off of his kill, and the proper way to “dispatch” a possum. His isolation (15 minutes by helicopter from Milford Sound or a three-day walk to the closest road) proves to be a mixed blessing. The order and purpose of nature unexpectedly draws Paterson toward a deep faith in God, while his solitude leaves him struggling with celibacy, as well suicidal thoughts. In the end, flipping to a random verse in his Bible (Micah 2:10: “Arise and depart, for this is not your place of rest”) prompts Paterson to return to civilization (without completing the lodge). Although Paterson is a talented writer and the story is delivered with panache, his meandering attention distracts from an otherwise enjoyable look at living a spiritual life far off the grid. (BookLife)
Reviewed on: 09/10/2018
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