Genres: Memoir, Nonfiction
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Publication Year: 2021
Length: 256
ASIN: 0593189485
ISBN: 9780593189481

In this little nonfiction book, Katherine May examines the literal and figurative concept of "wintering"–of retreating into a more insular, reflective, and healing way of being by some necessity. In the literal, she visits places known for their harsh winters and learns how people there cope and thrive through the dark months. She also examines her own experiences of “wintering,” through difficult times in her life that have by necessity, caused her to withdraw from her normal fast-paced, striving life.

This is a timely book, as the world perhaps starts to emerge from its own long period of wintering, which some have embraced and some have not. May makes a compelling case for accepting those times when wintering is necessary, because to fight them is to delay your own healing. Quiet, meditative, and filled with lovely prose.

About the Book

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Publisher’s Description

An intimate, revelatory book exploring the ways we can care for and repair ourselves when life knocks us down. Sometimes you slip through the cracks: unforeseen circumstances like an abrupt illness, the death of a loved one, a break up, or a job loss can derail a life. These periods of dislocation can be lonely and unexpected. For May, her husband fell ill, her son stopped attending school, and her own medical issues led her to leave a demanding job. Wintering explores how she not only endured this painful time, but embraced the singular opportunities it offered. A moving personal narrative shot through with lessons from literature, mythology, and the natural world, May’s story offers instruction on the transformative power of rest and retreat. Illumination emerges from many sources: solstice celebrations and dormice hibernation, C.S. Lewis and Sylvia Plath, swimming in icy waters and sailing arctic seas. Ultimately Wintering invites us to change how we relate to our own fallow times. May models an active acceptance of sadness and finds nourishment in deep retreat, joy in the hushed beauty of winter, and encouragement in understanding life as cyclical, not linear. A secular mystic, May forms a guiding philosophy for transforming the hardships that arise before the ushering in of a new season.

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