INTO WOODS Author Photo

"In these vigorous, boisterous, and earthy essays, Bill Roorbach gives us a shrewdly candid self-portrait, while telling us reams about what it means to be a man at this point in time. The construction of masculinity, for better or worse, is a subject he understands deep in his bones. What makes Roorbach even more unique is his unembarrassed tenderness and affection for humanity, including those closest to him. Equally impressive is his informed love for the land and sea. He writes confidently and confidingly, elegantly, and articulately; his personal essays constitute a fresh, welcome contribution to the form."
--Phillip Lopate

Into Woods

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Into Woods is an exuberant, profound, and often wonderfully funny account of ten years in the life of its award-winning author, Bill Roorbach. A paean to nature, to love, to family, and to place, Into Woods provides a sequel to Roorbach’s first book, the critically acclaimed and popular Summers with Juliet, which traced Roorbach’s courtship of Juliet Karelsen, ending with their wedding on the water. Into Woods begins with their honeymoon on a wine farm in the Loire Valley of France and closes with the birth of their new daughter and return to their beloved Maine. Thoroughly original, the essays of Into Woods blend journalism, memoir, personal narrative, nature writing, cultural criticism, and rare insight into a narrative of place, a meditation on being and belonging, love and death, wonder and foreboding.

The title essay, “Into Woods,” is a portrait of the writer as a young man; it is also a hymn to work and men. This evocative essay sets the theme for the rest of the collection. “Spirits,” “Shitdiggers, Mudflats, and the Worm Men of Maine,” “Duck Day Afternoon,” “Birthday,” and “Sky Pond” all pay homage to Bill’s life in Maine. “You Have Given This Boy Life,” perhaps the most haunting essay in the collection, describes Bill’s middle-aged preoccupation with death, leading to a strange catalogue of cadavers, but no deliverance from fear. “Vortex,” a lovely reprise of the subjects of Summers with Juliet, is all about fishing on Martha’s Vineyard. “Scioto Blues” is the unforgettable tale of Bill’s walks with his dogs along the trash-infested Scioto River, as it flows through Columbus, Ohio. With his characteristic wit, Bill narrates the funk and glory of a place that somehow manages to keep its dignity despite all of the degradation. Finally, “My Life as a Move” discusses the pervasive American move-for-work phenomenon, cataloguing Bill’s own numerous moves and his and Juliet’s decision to move back to Maine, where they hope they belong.

Books by Bill Roorbach

Now in Paperback
Nature Nonfiction
"A Marvel in a genre that's tough to master." --National Geographic Explorer
"One of the best novels of this or any year... A flat-out funny, sexy, and poignant romantic thriller." David Abrams, author of FOBBIT
Stories, forthcoming from Algonquin in 2017
New Down East Books edition, 2016
Counterpoint Press, 2001 (paperback 2003)
(Winner of the Flannery O'Connor Prize for Short Fiction)University of Georgia Press, 2001, paperback: Counterpoint Press, 2003
Memoir/Nature Writing
Houghton Mifflin, 1992. Paperback: Ohio State University Press, 2000.
The Best Instruction Book on the Market
The Best Creative Nonfiction Anthology on the Market
Widely adopted, loved and admired. Oxford University Press, 2001