book beginnings on Friday: The Solace of Open Spaces by Gretel Ehrlich

Thanks to Rose City Reader for hosting this meme. To participate, share the first line or two of the book you are currently reading and, if you feel so moved, let us know what your first impressions were based on that first line.


Fil wins again with this outstanding and unknown (to me, and I’m pretty sure he said to him as well) little book. Gretel Ehrlich writes beautifully and I love it. She begins:

It’s May and I’ve just awakened from a nap, curled against sagebrush the way my dog taught me to sleep – sheltered from wind. A front is pulling the huge sky over me, and from the dark a hailstone has hit me on the head.

She’s writing about living in Wyoming, nearer nature than most of us do, working as a sheepherder and a ranch hand and escaping her life in New York City and a recent personal tragedy. It’s lovely. I marvel at how I can’t get enough of lyrical nature writing; and this is a woman’s story of dealing with life, to boot. I recommend it. Review to come.

As usual, thank you, Fil.

8 Responses

  1. Hit in the head by hail. Oh you have to love Wyoming. Spent memory happy days there. Haven’t been hit in the head, at least by hail. I do have a bumpy head though so I wonder if I was hit by random objects when I was young.

    • Ha! I haven’t spent much time in Wyoming, but after reading this, I’d like to. You are remarkably well traveled, TBM.

      • I wasn’t born there, but a lot of my family lives there. Family reunions in Wyoming and Utah every summer for my first 20 years. Unfortunately I’m too far away now. Both are beautiful states and the hiking is superb. And Salt Lake back in the day had many wonderful used bookshops.

  2. Great opening scene! I love the idea of being curled around the sagebrush…can just picture it –

    Here’s my Friday Meme

  3. TBM, we used to have family reunions every other year, and one was at Grand Teton National Park; so I’ve been there, but didn’t get a comprehensive tour. Lovely, of course! And I hear nice things about Salt Lake, too… sounds great. And I appreciate very much the family reunion tradition.

  4. If the rest of the book is as good as this opening, I’m going to love it! Yes, it’s now on my TBR list.

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