Outermost House

Beston, Henry. The Outermost House: a Year of Life on the Great Beach of Cape Cod. New York: Henry Holt & Company, 1988.

Even though Cape Cod is nothing like Monhegan Island this was a great read for vacation.

Henry Beston built a two room house on Coast Guard Beach on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. Originally the house was designed to be a summer getaway cabin but after two weeks Beston decided to see what it would be like to spend a year on the beach. During that time he wrote a memoir of the experience, recording everything he saw, heard, smelled, touched and experienced. As a result he published The Outermost House which became a best seller. Along the lines of Thoreau, Beston was enamored with living the simple life and experiencing nature in it most raw form. There were many times I found myself agreeing with Beston or being envious of his adventure. Even the storms that blew up the beach produced fascinating fodder for Beston’s book.

Favorite lines: “On its solitary dune my house faced the four walls of the world” (p 9), “Listen to the surf, really lend it your ears, and you will hear in it a world of sounds: hollow boomings and heavy roarings, great watery tumblings and tramplings, long hissing seethes, sharp riffle-shot reports, splashes, whispers, the grinding undertone of stones, and sometimes vocal sounds that might be the half-heard talk of people in the sea” (p 43) and one more, “Wraiths of memories began to take shape” (p 216).

Author Fact: Well, this fact isn’t about Beston. It’s about his house. His cabin on Cape Cod was named a national literary landmark until it was destroyed in the blizzard of 1978.

Book Trivia: Beston’s wife wouldn’t marry him until he had finished The Outermost House.

Reason read: October is National Animal Month.

BookLust Twist: From Book Lust in the chapter called “Wild Life” (p 244).

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