All the Wrong Places: Book summary and reviews of All the Wrong Places by Philip Connors

All the Wrong Places

A Life Lost and Found

by Philip Connors

All the Wrong Places by Philip Connors

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Book Summary

In his debut Fire Season, Philip Connors recounted with lyricism, wisdom, and grace his decade as a fire lookout high above remote New Mexico. Now he tells the story of what made solitude on the mountain so attractive: the years he spent reeling in the wake of a family tragedy.

At the age of twenty-three, Connors was a young man on the make. He'd left behind the Minnesota pig farm on which he'd grown up and the brother with whom he'd never been especially close. He had a magazine job lined up in New York City and a future unfolding exactly as he'd hoped. Then one phone call out of the blue changed everything. All the Wrong Places is a searingly honest account of the aftermath of his brother's shocking death, exploring both the pathos and the unlikely humor of a life unmoored by loss.

Beginning with the otherworldly beauty of a hot-air-balloon ride over the skies of Albuquerque and ending in the wilderness of the American borderlands, this is the story of a man paying tribute to the dead by unconsciously willing himself into all the wrong places, whether at the copy desk of the Wall Street Journal, the gritty streets of Bed-Stuy in the 1990s, or the smoking rubble of the World Trade Center. With ruthless clarity and a keen sense of the absurd, Connors slowly unmasks the truth about his brother and himself, to devastating effect. Like Cheryl Strayed's Wild, this is a powerful look back at wayward years - and a redemptive story about finding one's rightful home in the world.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Unlike other, neater narratives of being lost and found, Connors' story - told with harrowing insight and fierce prose - is messy and incomplete and makes no apologies for being anything but." - Kirkus

"[H]is subtle, evocative prose and depth of feeling carry readers through the eddies of his story." - Publishers Weekly

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Author Information

Philip Connors Author Biography

Photo: Martha Connors

Philip Connors was born in Iowa, grew up on a farm in Minnesota, and studied print journalism at the University of Montana. Beginning in 1999 he worked at the Wall Street Journal, mostly as an editor on the Leisure & Arts page. In 2002 he left New York to become a fire lookout in New Mexico's Gila National Forest, where he has spent every summer since. That experience became the subject of his first book, Fire Season: Field Notes From a Wilderness Lookout, which Amazon named the best nature book of the year in 2011. It won the National Outdoor Book Award, the Sigurd Olson Nature Writing Award, the Reading the West Award for nonfiction, and the Grand Prize from the Banff Mountain Book Competition.

His essays have appeared in , the London Review of Books, the New York Times Magazine, the ...

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