At the age of 29, Bass forsakes his worldly belongings, save for his broken down truck, and leaves Houston for the very limit of the United States, a remote, sparsely inhabited valley in Montana on the edge of the Canadian border. His goal is to explore Yaak, learn about himself, become a writer, and above all else, survive winter. At times he is overcome by self-importance and the self-consciousness of recapitulating Thoreau’s Walden, and at others, he is so observant and elegiac that he can make individual snowflakes or the crack of split wood so important we cannot believe we have never before taken notice. The book’s shining message is the imperative to slow down, escape the drive of modern American life, even if all we do is read his book. January 2007.