THE CABIN: A NORTH WOODS MEMOIR
Okay, I love Wisconsin’s north woods. I love watching the waves crashing on Lake’s Superior’s south shore – the wilder the better. And I love both the sense of life gently flowing by in the calm sections of rivers and the tumultuous – almost jubilant – rapids in those same rivers as they roar north toward Lake Superior. I never pass fields and meadows without checking to see what wildlife might be there; deer, bear, coyotes, and even wolves can make surprise appearances at any time. The wind through dense pine forests sings a completely different song than when it swirls through stands of birch, oak, or maple. Wisconsin’s north woods is nature at her finest.
The unique beauty of northern Wisconsin comes alive in Steven Fortney’s The Cabin: A North Woods Memoir, but the memoir is so much more than a stroll through nature. As Arthur Dewey noted, “The Cabin is a world to get lost in. This stunning feat of memory and devotion details the simple act by four men to create more than a summer shack in northern Wisconsin… Even readers who have never trudged through underbrush or fished for trout will soon be fascinated by a story that continues to backtrack through woods and waters, memories and merriment, flaws and blunderings…by layering this tramp through wilderness and time with a felicitous mix of whimsy, gin and poetry. His descriptions are sometimes as achingly poignant as the sun setting through a stand of ageless pines…
“He casts each of the main figures against the shadows of their particular histories that intersect for so many years in those woods. This decades-long venture of four flawed men in the wild epitomizes our fragile and flawed life….”
Through the years, Steven and his friends evolve just as their property evolves from 80 acres with a few decrepit buildings. The four men, all city dwellers, attempting to integrate into a rural, heavily Finnish community evokes many wildly humorous moments. Coming to terms with death, the strong bonds of friendships and family, and the healing power of nature run an emotional gamut throughout this special memoir. I think Keith F. Voos summarized The Cabin best:
“A unique, sometimes rapturous experience awaits the readers of this loving and deeply felt memoir.”