In A Field Guide to Getting Lost, Rebecca Solnit explores the many ways in which people get lost: spiritually, emotionally, or physically. In this collection of essays, Solnit interweaves her personal stories about getting lost with how artists, writers, other cultures, and the animal kingdom come to terms with it. "The Blue of Distance" is the title of every other essay, and that theme runs throughout the book (she refers to the artists who use the color blue to portray distance in their paintings).
Rather than considering it a frightening place, Solnit believes that the state of being lost is a place to find yourself. This is most apparent in the book when she discusses the captivity narratives of Puritan girls who were kidnapped and raised in the Native American culture. They had no desire to return to their old lives, because they no longer felt lost among the Native Americans.
Perhaps the most touching parts of her essays are the ones about her personal life, how people, objects, and memories get lost in time and space.
Getting lost, Solnit proves, is just as much of a journey, if not more so, than finding your way. Getting outside of what is comfortable and familiar is a way to help you relate better to the rest of the world. This lesson tends to get lost in her details sometimes, but she always brings the reader back to it.
It is easy for the reader to get lost in the myriad of topics that Solnit explores in this book, which is the point, but it's a journey worth taking. Her prose is lyrical and thought-provoking, her subject matter offbeat and unconventional. At times, it is difficult to keep up with her thought process, but what brings the A Field Guide to Getting Lost full circle is that it begins and ends with her personal experiences. This is a quirky and fascinating read.