This Side of a Wilderness
by Daniel J. Rice
If Thoreau had written Walden as a narrative fiction, and designed his protagonist in the fashion of a Hermann Hesse character, then it would have resembled this novel. "He was alone in the wilderness, a wilderness that seemed deep and forever, but was surrounded by a world filled with people." Eli Sylvan is on a quest to rediscover the wilderness of his youth. He spends his weekends camping and fishing in the wild mountains of Wyoming, and then on Mondays he returns to the daily grind of the professional workforce. Feeling alienated from his friends and coworkers, Eli spends his evenings painting scenic landscapes, but this only intensifies his longing to be completely immersed in nature. Then he meets Lamara, a young woman who has a sophisticated flair and a deep affinity for the outdoors. Together they develop a plan to resign from their careers in Wyoming and move into an isolated northern Minnesota forest. But the challenge of escaping the comforts of society is greater than either anticipated, and they must prepare themselves for the possibility of failure.