A Traveler’s Guide Available Wherever Books Are Sold As Of June 20th, 2023

David Gessner

Dartmouth College

Sick of Nature

Sick Of Nature - David Gessner


David Gessner’s Return of the Osprey is among the classics of American nature writing, said the Boston Globe. So why does this critically acclaimed nature writer now declare himself to be sick of nature?

In diverse, diverting, and frequently hilarious essays, Gessner wrestles with father figures both biological and literary, reflects on the pleasures and absurdities of the writing life, explores the significance of place for both his work and his sense of well-being, and rails at the confines of the nature genre even as he continues to find fresh inspiration for his writing in the natural world. In the end, he learns to embrace–or at least tolerate–the label he once rejected. Whether kicking at the limits of his category or explaining why he was fired from his job as a bookstore clerk; whether recalling his youthful obsession with Ultimate Frisbee or recounting an adventure in the jungles of Belize; whether lampooning his own writerly envy of Sebastian Junger or raging at the over-development of Cape Cod or searching for solace in nature in the wake of September 11, Gessner ranges from the personal to the natural in lyrical reflections on writing, self, and society. In a powerful concluding essay, Gessner moves from the arrival of coyotes in the suburbs of Boston to the birth of his first child in an extended meditation on his characteristic themes of wildness, place, and creativity.

“Gessner’s essays tend to zigzag through the terrain of both wild and human nature, often at the same time and without a compass.  But his writing is so sharp-eyed, you don’t mind getting lost with him, wherever he ends up. ”   Audubon Magazine

“Comical, energetic, and reverentially irreverent…Gessner’s literary voice in this book is something new, something different…in particular he argues for – and then gleefully demonstrates – the enlivening contribution of farce and other modes of narrative in the field of nature writing…more like a gulp of laughing gas than the standard breath of fresh air.”   Orion Magazine

“With Sick of Nature, David Gessner amply demonstrates that he’s a genre eschewing wunderkind, so now he can do anything he likes, but if he throws in plenty of coyotes, turtles, dunes, and woods as he does here so much the better.” Boulder Daily Camera

“As self-conscious as Eggers, but deeper. As funny as Sedaris, but smarter. Our best writer of creative nonfiction period.” — Mark Spitzer, author of Bottom Feeder