On an autumn morning in 1849, Henry David Thoreau stepped out his front door to walk the beaches of Cape Cod. Over a century and a half later, Ben Shattuck does the same. With little more than a loaf of bread, brick of cheese, and a notebook, Shattuck sets out to retrace Thoreau’s path through the Cape’s outer beaches, from the elbow to Provincetown’s fingertip.
... moving ... An experienced painter whose work has hung in exhibitions across the northeastern United States, Shattuck documented the people and places he encountered in lovely pencil sketches that punctuate his prose ... witnesses how, in every season, choosing to step into the natural world can lead to healing and peace.
Shattuck’s memoir is much more than a paean to Thoreau. In this resonant little volume of reflections, which is enhanced by the author’s beautiful drawings, Shattuck frames his personal journey from despair to delight against the backdrop of six outings inspired by Thoreau’s mid 19th-century excursions. The result evokes not just Thoreau but Annie Dillard, and is a significant addition to what British nature writer Robert Macfarlane has called 'the literature of the leg' ... There is a sharp divide – both temporal and emotional – between the first and second halves of Six Walks ... With its lovely illustrations and thoughtful insights about nature, love, and friendship, Six Walks celebrates taking time to see what really matters.
... handsomely printed ... intimate ... If you have ever been intimidated by hiking memoirs—the ones that feature semi-rugged, scruffily bearded males equally adept at climbing waterfalls and kindling a fire with nary a match in sight—then Six Walks, by turns gently self-ironical and shyly lyrical, is the book for you ... The author’s comedic talents are formidable and the characters he creates hard to forget.