In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Book Review s 361 a Prince William Sound salmon cannery: “I will him to see the larger waste, the abuse of an entire resource. I will him to outrage. He is blind to it, or merely reticent; perhaps, again, as a guest of Harriman’s and here, of the cannery’s management, he is reluctant to criticize” (79). But she is never unfair. In choosing this once popular but now relatively neglected writer for her guide, she gives us a fascinating dual perspective on Alaska, a kind of stereopticon or 3-D view, allowing us to see both the big picture and the light that is right there in front of our eyes. Hunting for Hope: A Father's Journey. By Scott Russell Sanders. Boston: Beacon Press, 1998. 200 pages, $23.00. Reviewed by Erin Edwards U tah State University, Logan In his book Hunting for Hope, Scott Russell Sanders sorts through the chaos of destruction that is plaguing the world and unearths a paradigm that allows him to find order within the chaos. Hope. The book chronicles a year, which starts with Sanders and his son, Jessie, in the Rockies on a snowshoeing trip and ends with them warming by a fire on a drizzly evening in the Smoky Mountains. As Sanders and his son drive deep into Big Thompson Canyon, Sanders uncovers the source of the tension that has been thickening between him and his son over the previous years. He discovers that his propensity to point out all that is wrong in the world has robbed his son of the very thing that gives meaning to life. “You make me feel the planet’s dying and people are to blame and nothing can be done about it,” his son accuses him, “there is not room for hope” (9). Instead of reacting to this information defensively, as parents so often do when they are confronted with the pain they have caused their chil­ dren, Sanders confronts the truth of his son’s words by asking himself, “If my gloom cast a shadow over Creation for my son, then I had failed him. What remedy could there be for such a betrayal?”(10). Sanders’s remedy is to embark on a journey of sorts, to find hope in a world where acid rain eats away forests, hunger grips the poor, and consumerism has usurped spirituality. It is clear that despite Sanders’s cynicism about the state of the planet, his family is an overriding source of hope. He devotes one chapter to the hope that he draws from his immediate family, watching his wife make pies, his son chop logs, his daughter show off ladder-back chairs she purchased from a garage sale. The rest of the chapters revolve around the chapter “Family” like a fractal pattern, his immediate family being the initial values of Mandelbrot’s formula. Sanders identifies sources of hope in the world, 3 6 2 WAL 3 4 .3 F a l l 1999 each like a reiteration of all that is beautiful in his family. The resulting pat­ tern is vibrant and diverse and, ultimately, is a reflection of the power that guides creation. Even though Sanders mines many nuggets of hope in his book, I found myself occasionally empathizing with Jessie’s feeling that “the planet’s dying and people are to blame and nothing can be done about it” and with Sanders’s candid exposure of the rapid decay consuming the world. At the end of the book, as father and son camp in the Smoky Mountains, Sanders points out to the reader that “three-quarters of the haze in the air that gave these mountains their name now comes from pollution” (176). In spite of his honest appraisal of the condition of the world, Sanders is able to answer his son’s poignant question ‘“ Do you believe we can change?” ’ (the “we” being the people of the world). Sanders responds with a firm yes (186). Hope is even more powerful when it is forged while tak­ ing an honest look at all the grounds for despair. Flight Dreams: A Life in the Midwestern Landscape. By Lisa Knopp. Iowa C ity: U...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 361-362
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.