The Point of Vanishing is a very beautifully written memoir,so because it s a debut I was glad to have won a copy from LibraryThing just to experience Axelrod s way with words his vivid descriptions of nature and of his feelings are really done exquisitely But I didn t at first get thepointof the vanishing, that is Why did he do what he did Plus, he didn t reallyvanishinto solitude as the title suggests, but house sat in a Vermont cabin in the woods for a couple of y The Point of Vanishing is a very beautifully written memoir,so because it s a debut I was glad to have won a copy from LibraryThing just to experience Axelrod s way with words his vivid descriptions of nature and of his feelings are really done exquisitely But I didn t at first get thepointof the vanishing, that is Why did he do what he did Plus, he didn t reallyvanishinto solitude as the title suggests, but house sat in a Vermont cabin in the woods for a couple of years He still saw a few people and still talked on the phone occasionally That s not true solitude, but it certainly gave him much time for reflection and appreciating the beauty around him, without the distractions of tv, cell phones, and computers.Thewhyat first glance was the author s tragic sports accident that caused blindness in one eye during his college years But the author said he didn t want that to change him, or others perceptions of him And it shouldn t have he could still see in one eye and function pretty normally I don t mean to diminish his experience I have had some vision issues but certainly not to this extent Somehow, though, the eye, and a failed romance that was perfectly interwoven with the Vermont story, did change so many things TheI read, thethe why became clearer, but I was still confused at the end about it going on so long and to such extremes that he lost a great amount of weight and muscle tone before finally waking up and rejoining the world I would recommend this and would read this author again 3.5 stars 3.5 stars The perfect line to encapsulate Howard Axelrod s The Point of Vanishing is actually a line from Fight Club It s only after we ve lost everything that we re free to do anything The Point of Vanishing splits its narrative between Howard s final year at Harvard, and his move into a secluded cabin deep in the Vermont woods Axelrod finds himself quickly becoming acclimated to his new lifestyle, though profoundly unable to shake his past Vivid portraits of the natural beauty surrounding the ca The perfect line to encapsulate Howard Axelrod s The Point of Vanishing is actually a line from Fight Club It s only after we ve lost everything that we re free to do anything The Point of Vanishing splits its narrative between Howard s final year at Harvard, and his move into a secluded cabin deep in the Vermont woods Axelrod finds himself quickly becoming acclimated to his new lifestyle, though profoundly unable to shake his past Vivid portraits of the natural beauty surrounding the cabin are interjected with visceral memories of the freak accident that robbed him of half his eyesight during a pickup basketball game The author ruminates on lost loves, familial drama, and his acclimation to a world that has suddenly lost its depth, inways than one While I enjoyed the author s writing style and was intrigued with his lyrical descriptions of the natural world surrounding his isolated rental house in Vermont, I also felt he was perhaps a bit overly dramatic about the unexpected curve ball thrown him by losing the sight in one eye It struck me that this is really the memoir of a quite young person, a man looking for himself, which is actually pretty typical of someone in his twenties It would be interesting to have him revisit those two yea While I enjoyed the author s writing style and was intrigued with his lyrical descriptions of the natural world surrounding his isolated rental house in Vermont, I also felt he was perhaps a bit overly dramatic about the unexpected curve ball thrown him by losing the sight in one eye It struck me that this is really the memoir of a quite young person, a man looking for himself, which is actually pretty typical of someone in his twenties It would be interesting to have him revisit those two years of solitude when he is in his sixties, in order to see what sort of perspective life has offered on his physical trials, but his obvious privilege in so many other areas of his life While I wouldn t go so far as to say he sounded whiny, he did sound very self absorbed again, not out of character for his age, as he figures out who he really is People called this poetic maybe i couldn t appreciate that but i didnt like the writing or formatting. For those who look beyond their daily life to find themselves An accident causes the author to find a new path for his life and he writes of his journey For those who enjoy introspective memoirs. Wirklich ganz zu sich kommenAllein in den W ldern, weit weg von den Problemen des modernen Alltags f r viele ein Traum Howard Axelrod macht ihn wahr und lebt zwei Jahre lang in einem abgeschiedenen Haus in der Wildnis, bis die seltenen Kontakte zur Au enwelt f r ihn zu einem gleichzeitig begl ckenden wie qu lenden Ereignis werden Es gelingt ihm, sich von den Zw ngen der modernen Zivilisation zu l sen und ganz zu sich zu kommen, doch reift in ihm auch die Erkenntnis, dass Probleme sich nicht durch R ckzug l sen lassen Eine ehrliche, poetische und berraschende Meditation dar ber, was es hei t, aus der Welt verschwinden zu wollen und ihr gleichzeitig n herzukommen I m a sucker for reflections rendered through solitude Maybe because I spend a lot of time in my head so it feels familiar Maybe because I fantasize about truly experiencing solitude though I can t dothan a couple of days hiking on my own But also because what is rendered strikes me as the only kind of truth worth reflecting on After a few months of solitary living in a house in the woods Axelrod notes that, It was the first period in my life when my thoughts had full license to expan I m a sucker for reflections rendered through solitude Maybe because I spend a lot of time in my head so it feels familiar Maybe because I fantasize about truly experiencing solitude though I can t dothan a couple of days hiking on my own But also because what is rendered strikes me as the only kind of truth worth reflecting on After a few months of solitary living in a house in the woods Axelrod notes that, It was the first period in my life when my thoughts had full license to expand Nothing going on inside me had to be tamed I didn t see people, didn t have to organize myself into a person for anyone s eyes I know Axelrod s ability to attend universities, travel to Europe and across the US, and now to take a sabbatical of sorts from life in a cabin bespeak his privilege As one goodreads reviewer seething with self righteousnesses observes, Axelrod, a privileged guy attending Harvard loses the sight in one of his eyes at a pickup basketball game He seems to feel this is incredibly tragic and seems to have massive trouble adjusting to this despite the fact, he can still read, drive and uh, see I have a friend who became completely blind as an adult and is off climbing Kilimanjaro at this moment it s hard to muster up a ton of sympathy for Axelrod here I get he had to make a huge adjustment in his life, but it seems like whatever life goals he set were still pretty achievable Yet, I don t understand this response to human suffering and loss So what, it s on sliding scale Lose your sight and you have my smypathy, but only lose sight in one eye which then causes you to reconsider your connection with yourself and others and I really don t give a damn I just don t get it And that s why the minute I read this review, trying to decide if I should order a copy, I ordered one right up Of course Axelrod is privileged as just about anyone who is consistely reading books and rating them in Goodreads but he also has experienced deep loss and pain We don t get to choose how we feel about loss no matter our outward privileges It s not the exact nature and scale of the loss that should matter but what someone makes of that loss in terms of living and being and, in this case, writing In an attempt to deal with the loss of vision only in one eye that is and figuring out what to do next with his life, he accepts a creative award to live in Europe doing anything he wants to except getting married Again, privilege, because he had access to the literary world and was able to demonstrate his skills While there he meets Milena and they fall beautifully in love with each other, I felt as though she had returned me to some unknown part of myself, to some interior country where everything I d felt and longed for made sense It was similar to what came over me when I read right here, I myself was overcome with emotion , but now the feeling was outside of me, too it was vibrating off the walls, off the bed, and I wasn t alone with it Go to hell Amerynth and take with you all of your indignities about the lowliness of Axelrod s suffering, your judgments of what counts as tragedy I believe we all do about as good as we are able to in this life We all try hard whether this is deemed trying or not Yes, we can judge how the fruits of this trying supports us and our fellow humans And this may mean cutting ties with someone who is dangerous to us or our loved ones it means denouncing someone who attempts to take away the freedoms of others There we can judge But we can t judge how much another suffers That is not ours to judge We cannot evaluate someone s loss And I think this world would a much better place for all of if each of us could work just a bit harder to pause and creatively imagine how someone we perceive as privileged is also suffering LIFE We all must make it to the other side as intact as possible Full disclosure, I ve taken a class with Howard as my instructor That being said, I wasn t sure what to expect from his book He hadn t talked about it much to our class, so I was going in not totally clear on what I d be reading Thankfully, it includes one of my favorite places Vermont and is written as a memoir, which is my favorite genre.How does one write a memoir about solitude, though, when there s very little action or tension You write something like The Point of Vanishingcharacte Full disclosure, I ve taken a class with Howard as my instructor That being said, I wasn t sure what to expect from his book He hadn t talked about it much to our class, so I was going in not totally clear on what I d be reading Thankfully, it includes one of my favorite places Vermont and is written as a memoir, which is my favorite genre.How does one write a memoir about solitude, though, when there s very little action or tension You write something like The Point of Vanishingcharacter realizations combined with sharp prose The descriptions are lush and full, giving wonderful images of the surroundings, whether it be Vermont, Boston, or visiting his family in New York What drives the book is how well written it is It s deserving of a re read just for the prose The exploration of Howard s life during this time has him asking many questions of himself, but I still had my share of questions I wanted answered after reading The Point of Vanishing I was curious as to what an average day consisted of for Howard I got a feel for things here and there, but never got an entirely full picture Did he just tromp around the woods every day Or was theregoing on in his life than what he shared If that was being left out, what else was missing As another reviewer mentioned, I couldn t quite understand why Howard was so hard on himself He had a lot of things going for him what led him to the aimlessness and uncertainty Was it because of losing his vision in one eye If so, that didn t come through as strong as I would ve liked.These questions and others kept me from finding this to be a terrific book, but as it stands it s still as a solid piece of writing that evokes vivid images and powerful, reflective moments I read The Point of Vanishing while staying in a remote cottage with a wood burning stove very similar to the one Axelrod describes It should have been perfect for my contemplative mood, and parts of it were, yet it was hard to ignore the very first world problem ness of it all Yes, losing an eye sucked As a very nearsighted person thanks, reading who has had a contact go off center at inopportune times, I can sympathize to a certain degree with the disorientation of seeing from just one e I read The Point of Vanishing while staying in a remote cottage with a wood burning stove very similar to the one Axelrod describes It should have been perfect for my contemplative mood, and parts of it were, yet it was hard to ignore the very first world problem ness of it all Yes, losing an eye sucked As a very nearsighted person thanks, reading who has had a contact go off center at inopportune times, I can sympathize to a certain degree with the disorientation of seeing from just one eye But to spend two years trying to find internal equilibrium again seems a bit indulgent It probably doesn t help that I recently read naturalist Bernd Heinrich s A Year in the Maine Woods, which has bothactual hardship I can t quite picture Axelrod digging out a latrine and a lotrecognition of the existence of a world beyond the self Both do an interesting job of exploring the effects of prolonged solitude, but Heinrich s account comes from a place of self knowledge and maturity rather than questioning The writing in this memoir is often quite lovely, occasionally overwritten Not all that much really happens, although there s one friendship I find touching I d be interested in seeing Axelrod revisit this experiment in another twenty years Hell, I d love to have the chance to see what two years of solitude in the woods would do to me Butyou know, there s work and school and all that other stuff the plebes have to deal with