PART OF A WINTER: A Memory More Like a Dream by George Sibley

PART OF A WINTER: A Memory More Like a Dream

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Sibley, previously a small-town, newspaper editor, took to the Colorado woods with his wife and kids for four years in the early Seventies. By turns aphoristic, meditative, corny, cosmic, factual, confessional, funky--the man just can't leave anything out. About one third of the ""sedimental journey"" takes us through his life: alienated Fifties kid, confused in college, goes AWOL from the army and cracks up in early Sixties, drifts to Colorado as ski bum and then ski patrol, searches for ""some alternative something-or-other,"" gets married, starts newspaper in 1969, fears that he's ""going to sleep in place"" in society, moves to cabin in the woods, writes this book. The remaining two-thirds is, in Sibley's own words, ""occasionally deliberate but generally digressionary."" A sampling: excerpts from Botsie Spritzer's ""Sporting Life"" column in the Chronicle; a lyrical appreciation of aspen trees (""I just feel good among aspen""); a discourse on glaciers and avalanches; tirades against ""mechanical, political"" society; I Ching hexagrams. And to cap things off, a heavy-heavy dark night of the soul in which he delivers his wife's baby in the woods and epiphanizes the infant's ""faint buddhic face,"" the druidic past, the stars, life, death, sex, winter, myth, dream, etc., etc. Thoreau sits disastrously on Sibley's shoulders; he misreads both the comic and symbolic aspects of his master's prose and insists on wringing out literal sense: ""Wildness! What the hell did you know of wildness, Henry!"" If only he'd reined in his pen.

Pub Date: Nov. 29th, 1978
Publisher: Crown