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nature essays, memoir

My Country: Essays and Stories from the Edge of Wilderness

Nature Essays, Creative Nonfiction & Short Stories from British Columbia

This back-to-the-land memoir weaves fiction and nonfiction, nature and magic realism, homesteading and wilderness survival, adventure and lyric, in a collection unified in its spirit of place, the Kootenay forests and mountains of interior BC.

Its visceral essays and whimsical stories reach from the environment of our collective past to remind us of the enduring mysteries of nature still around and within us all.

Nowick is an author informed from his own remarkable experiences living deep in the wilderness…. This is exciting and honest writing that awakens us to our humanity and interconnectedness with nature.” – Frank Burnaby, author of Island Born.

My Country, like Walden, presents a neglected world that appears as through a forgotten memory. The work is a triptych, painting three panels of approach to life in the context of nature.

The narrative essays in “Forest Walks and Other Exercises” track forest paths that skirt our tribal past while offering sheltered glimpses of the encroaching industrialized world. Personal immersion shades to political consciousness, with a view of logging, in particular, from the forest perspective.

“Interior Rainforest” paints a personal journey navigating the landscape of home life and wildlife, love and loss. These excursions and sketches depict the challenges of physical and emotional survival in and beside wilderness.

broken-man2The final section takes a further step inside the world of mountain and forest, to the imaginary realm where fiction and reality collide, dance, and mirror one another, bringing new forms of life to the ecosystem the narrator calls home. “Mountain Dreams” comprises fictional stories ranging in style from animism and fairy tale, to magical realism, to naturalistic dramas of human connection.

The shifting voice in these stories and essays is by turns meditative, reflective, observant, philosophical, descriptive, elegiac, atmospheric, poetic, lyrical.

“A view of life in the wilderness without either melodrama or whitewashed sentimentality. That, and the close observation of detail, commend repeated readings of this book. The narratives weave closely observed details with often lyrical writing, and often tempered with humour. Those visceral details make it impossible not to read on” – Avi Sirlin, author of The Evolutionist.

(from the Foreword): I spent the last two decades of the twentieth century nestled in a mountain valley in southeast British Columbia, sequestered in a home of my own making. I had wished to enjoy the privilege of proximate wilderness, and I was willing to take on the challenge of creating a sustainable livelihood in such a place. With my own efforts and help from my partner, friends and neighbors, I cleared land and carved a homestead out of the bush. So easily said, and a decade of hard work done. … On the wings of that stage the surrounding mountains offered up their pleasures: hiking and camping, swimming in summer lakes, backcountry skiing in winter…. More often, the outdoors served as backdrop to my internal landscape. Drawn outside in warm sunny weather, I would bring along an intermediating distraction, a different sort of tool— book, notepad, flute—with a headful of questions and new impressions to ponder en route to a random destination…. This, then, is “My Country”—personal explorations of body and spirit, in the time and setting of my BC homestead, community, and surrounding mountain wilderness.

“A rich and evocative read… I love the diversity and creative license this author uses to show the reader all the ways in which one can perceive, digest, and make sense of the world.” – Heidi Erhardt, 5-star review at Amazon

Order now:

Kindle eBook: Amazon.com $0.99 | Amazon.ca $1.28
(Get a free Kindle app for your PC or mobile device, even if you don’t have a Kindle e-reader.)

Paperback: Amazon.com $10.99 | Amazon.ca $14.19

> Read sample chapter: “The Homeland”

> Read reviews of Rendezvous | > Interview with Nowick Gray