The Point of Vanishing: Book summary and reviews of The Point of Vanishing by Howard Axelrod

The Point of Vanishing

A Memoir of Two Years in Solitude

by Howard Axelrod

The Point of Vanishing by Howard Axelrod X
The Point of Vanishing by Howard Axelrod
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  • Published in USA  Sep 2015
    224 pages
    Genre: Biography/Memoir

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Book Summary

After losing vision in one eye during his junior year at Harvard, Howard Axelrod found himself in a world where nothing was solid, where the smooth veneer of reality had been shattered, and where the distance between how people saw him and how he saw himself had widened into a gulf. Five years later, heartbroken from a love affair in Italy and desperate for a sense of orientation, Axelrod retreated to a small house in the Vermont woods.

Miles from the nearest neighbor, he lived with barely any human contact or communication for two years. Whether tending to the woodstove or snow-shoeing through the forest, he devoted his energies to learning to see again - to paying attention and to rediscovering what really matters. A gorgeous memoir of solitude in an age of superficial connection, The Point of Vanishing probes the profoundly human questions of perception, time, identity, and meaning.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. A vibrant, honest, and poetic account of how two years of solitude surrounded by nature changed a man forever." - Kirkus

"Starred Review. This memoir is a keeper, touching and eloquent, full of hard lessons learned. Readers will hope for more from first-time-author Axelrod." - Booklist

"Deeply alive and exciting and nuanced, a story of injury and years alone in the woods, The Point of Vanishing is all about what it means to see, and how we might ask ourselves to see differently - to live differently in our own bodies, and in the world." - Leslie Jamison, author of The Empathy Exams

"Well written with an honesty one can respect, The Point of Vanishing is more than an exploration of the human soul; it is a discovery of how our bodies can compensate and complement for our senses when we experience the partial loss of one." - Annie Philbrick, Bank Square Books

"This is a very real book, in bone-on-bone contact with the actual world. It made me think about my own life in new ways, and I think it will do the same for you." - Bill McKibben, author Deep Economy

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Author Information

Howard Axelrod

Howard Axelrod's work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Shambhala Sun, and the Boston Globe, among other publications. Axelrod has held teaching positions at Harvard, the University of Arizona, and Wentworth Institute of Technology. He currently teaches at Grub Street in Boston, where he lives. The Point of Vanishing is his first book.

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