cover image Running to the Mountain: A Journey of Faith and Change

Running to the Mountain: A Journey of Faith and Change

Jon Katz. Villard Books, $20 (242pp) ISBN 978-0-679-45678-0

The fear of stagnation at age 50 drove Katz, a nonfiction writer (Virtuous Reality) and author of the Suburban Detective series (Death Row, etc.), to buy a rundown cabin he couldn't afford at the top of a mountain in New York State's rural Washington County. Here he spent long periods of time alone with his two dogs. His wife, Paula, initially opposed taking on a second mortgage at a time when they had not only a house in New Jersey badly in need of repairs but also a daughter who would soon be going away to college, but she eventually came to support his decision to seize this time for himself. Although not conventionally religious, Katz used the works of Thomas Merton as inspiration for his own spiritual introspection. He describes the pleasures of living on the mountain (including making a close friend), learning that he could cope with the problems associated with restoring a broken-down cabin and experiencing solitude in a natural landscape. Although Katz's ruminations, which include an extended imaginary conversation with Merton, are sometimes self-absorbed, there's no doubt that he found the faith in himself and the peaceful, reinvigorating retreat that he was seeking on the mountain. 35,000 first printing. (Mar.)