Why do we often long for solitude but dread loneliness? What happens when the walls we build around ourselves are suddenly removed—or made impenetrable? If privacy is something we can count as a basic right, why are our laws, technology, and lifestyles increasingly chipping it away?
These are somong the themes that Sue Halpern eloquently explores in these profoundly original essays. In pursuit of the riddle of solitude, Halpern talks to Trappist monks and secular hermits, corresponds with a prisoner in solitary confinement, and visits and AIDS hospice and a shelter for the homeless places where privacy is the first—and perhaps the most essential—thing to go. This is a book that lends weight to the ideas that have become dangerously abstract in a society of data bases and car faxes, a guide not only ot the routes to solitude but to the selves we discover only when we arrive there.
About Sue Halpern
SUE HALPERN received her doctorate from Oxford University in 1985 and ﬁrst began teaching at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons. She is the author of Four Wings and a Prayer, Migrations to Solitude, and two books of ﬁction. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, the New York Times, Rolling Stone, Condé Nast Traveler, and The New York Review of Books, among other publications. She lives in Ripton, Vermont, with her husband, writer Bill McKibben, and their daughter, Sophie, and is a scholar-in-residence at Middlebury College.