Cover image for The nature notebooks : a novel
The nature notebooks : a novel
Mitchell, Don, 1947-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Hanover, NH : University Press of New England, [2004]

Physical Description:
225 pages ; 22 cm.
General Note:
Includes a reading group guide and questions for discussion.
Geographic Term:
Electronic Access:
Table of contents
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Three Vermont women enroll in a nature writing class, only to find themselves drawn into a plot to commit an act of destruction in the name of the environment. Though Lauren Blackwood, Marianna Finch, and Rachel Katz each claim an interest in"nature," the notebooks they keep for their class reveal their very different attitudes about the natural world. For Lauren, a farmer and breeder of llamas, nature is a powerful if unpredictable partner; for Marianna, a real estate agent, it is an aesthetic experience; and for Rachel, an extreme sports enthusiast, it is a cause and a commitment.In a narrative tour de force, the story unfolds in the form of entries from these nature notebooks. In separate accounts, each woman describes the events leading up to an act of sabotage on Mount Mansfield. Each version reveals new perspectives, new layers of deception, and new insights into the mysterious, charismatic Kyle Hess, a well-known nature writer and activist from California whose role in this act of eco-terrorism is gradually revealed.

Author Notes

DON MITCHELL teaches creative writing at Middlebury College. He is the author of three previous novels (Thumb Tripping, for which he also wrote the screenplay; Four-Stroke; and The Souls of Lambs: A Fable); three collections of essays (Moving Upcountry, Living Upcountry, and Growing Upcountry); and of the Compass American Guide to Vermont. He lives on a sheep farm with his former hitchhiking companion and wife of thirty-four years.

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

A surprise new student to a nature-writing group in Vermont triggers the radicalization of some residents of a small town facing the development of a ski lodge on Mount Mansfield. The newcomer isyle Hess, author of a well-regarded nature book and, unbeknownst to most of his classmates, a fugitive from the California eco-terrorist scene. Hess uses his considerable charm on three female members of the group to heighten their interest in nature to the point where they are willing to commit to helping him help other activists sabotage the ski-lodge development. Written in the form of separate entries from nature notebooks maintained by the three women, the narrative slowly reveals their personalities and sensibilities: Lauren, a farmer and llama breeder; Marianna, a widow and real-estate agent; and Rachel, an extreme-sports enthusiast. Using the particular vulnerabilities of the women,yle manipulates each of them into making modest efforts to conserve nature, which then escalate into the more radical actions of eco-terrorists. --Vanessa Bush Copyright 2004 Booklist

Table of Contents

Lauren Blackwood's Notebook
Marianna Finch's Notebook
Rachel Katz's Notebook