All the Wrong Places: A Life Lost and Found

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Now Connors returns with the story of what drove him up the tower in the first place: the wilderness years he spent reeling in the wake of a family tragedy. This is an unforgettable account of grappling with a shattered sense of purpose, from his family's failing pig farm in Minnesota to a crack-addled Brooklyn neighborhood to the mountains of New Mexico, where he puts the pieces of his life back together. Like Cheryl Strayed's Wild, this is a finely wrought look back at wayward youth-and a redemptive story about discovering one's place in the world.


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ALL THE WRONG PLACES by Philip Connors | Kirkus Reviews

Browse Books. Now he tells the story of what made solitude on the mountain so attractive: the years he spent reeling in the wake of a fami The prize-winning author of Fire Season returns with the heartrending story of his troubled years of flight. 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.

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 s, 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. Get A Copy.

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Hardcover , pages. Published February 16th by W. Norton Company. More Details Original Title.

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Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Feb 28, Perry rated it really liked it Shelves: nonfiction. Search to Make Sense of Brother's Suicide Makes for Moving Memoir A poignant memoir of the author's search for any semblance of sense in his younger brother's suicide. If there's a better description of life after the loss of a family member to suicide, of the grief that grips you, the gnawing need to understand why, the replays over and over of the Lasts conversation, visit, facial expression, shared moments of youth , of the empty place left in the soul that one tries to, but can not, fill, Search to Make Sense of Brother's Suicide Makes for Moving Memoir A poignant memoir of the author's search for any semblance of sense in his younger brother's suicide.

If there's a better description of life after the loss of a family member to suicide, of the grief that grips you, the gnawing need to understand why, the replays over and over of the Lasts conversation, visit, facial expression, shared moments of youth , of the empty place left in the soul that one tries to, but can not, fill, I'm fairly certain I cannot bear to read it. Connors, in graceful prose, provides a vivid and moving account of his inability to move past his brother's suicide: until he followed each last trace of the moments and days leading up to the gunshot wound to the temple, until he spoke to others who had seen or talked to his brother during those final hours, and tracked down photos from the police and read an autopsy report.

In short, the author had to satisfy himself that he could and would never know why his brother took his life. When he came to accept this, he found an inner peace because he was finally freed of the constant thoughts, guilt and feelings of emptiness within, left by the faults resulting from the suicide that turned his world on its head. The things Connors did, the places he worked all the wrong places and the people he met, all on his journey to self-revelation, acceptance and inner peace, add up to make this moving memoir a richly rewarding read.

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Dec 14, Charlie rated it it was amazing Shelves: first-reads. AND thank you. This book is an unforgettable memoir. He holds nothing back and you wonder why in the world he let it all out. Friends, that's why this is truly a top notch story to read.

ALL THE WRONG PLACES: A Life Lost and Found

He tells his story without holding back. He had to find out more about why his brother committed suicide. So, the story begins. Jan 05, Chris rated it really liked it Recommends it for: fans of memoirs. Shelves: memoir. Connors achieves here everything I love about quality memoir: honest storytelling and emotion, gritty realism, a glimpse into the human condition and plenty of vicarious experience available to the reader.

But All the Wrong Places had just a bit more. Some memoirs, I find, are merely written as catharsis or testimony of the author's troubles and suffering ie. So much so that when I finish reading them, emotionally exhausted, I figure I should be getting paid to read them because Connors achieves here everything I love about quality memoir: honest storytelling and emotion, gritty realism, a glimpse into the human condition and plenty of vicarious experience available to the reader.

So much so that when I finish reading them, emotionally exhausted, I figure I should be getting paid to read them because that's what therapists get paid for right? Connors, despite delving into heavy feelings such as grief, guilt and lack of closure, uses his sharp skill in prose to transcend melodrama and self-pity. He executes his story with tact, providing subtleties into his inner-world and deep, burdening emotions. A nonlinear memoir, Connors relays his experience of a devastating family disaster which leaves him grappling with many unanswered questions and his own identity.

As we follow him through various geographical locations, relationships and jobs -- including a position at the Wall Street Journal -- he attempts to unravel the mysteries of himself and his past. Connors moves along at an enjoyable pace and uses a relaxed voice, making All the Wrong Places a very accessible read. He interweaves varying subjects: politics, racism, intimacy, philosophy, death, renewal of the spirit, relationships both with people and the natural world and identity.

At the fulcrum of it all is Connors' adoption of his role as an outsider, his underlying grief and his unanswered questions. He intertwines reflective moments and insights with light and funny anecdotes all the while lacing in powerful images, often prompting me to stop and reread them to deepen their effect.

I find he hones in on how people feel intimate and connected with each other only through the sharing of their wounds, trauma and pain. I was left at the end with not a feeling of emotional exhaustion but of comfort in the resiliency of the human spirit and the healing powers of nature. All in all a very great read, heavy and difficult due to the subject matter, but very well done.

View 1 comment. Jun 27, Mark Bailey rated it it was amazing Shelves: melony-office. I had the pleasure of meeting Phil Connors at an Association for the Study of Literature and Environment writer's conference where he was a speaker. Dave Foreman was there too and the three of us had lunch along with my wife and publisher at Torrey House Press, Kirsten Allen.


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  7. Kirsten ended up sitting with three men who had lost their brothers by their brother's own hand. It was a moving experience for me, one I still feel and am grateful for. I started reading it around noon and finished it a minute before midnight. I had in my hand a story I related to on many levels, of course, but also one that told the background story of how a sensitive, hard working, acutely honest and master observer came to be an award winning writer.

    Phil was on a path he might not have been cut out for when his world was side swiped by the news of his younger brother's suicide. It was a suicide he feels he might have prevented. We older brothers know this, know we could have done something, know what it would have been, know it even though we are often told there is nothing we could have done. The challenge is to figure how to live with the realization of this existential truth. We are all the richer for it. What is most personal is the most universal. In this exquisitely honest portrayal of a life closely examined and found wanting the rest of us can shed a light on our own dark interior.

    Man, Phil, nice work. View 2 comments.

    All the Wrong Places

    Dec 11, Chris rated it it was amazing Shelves: deep-thoughts , biography. I loved his first book about the reflections of a fire lookout in the Gila. This book doesn't disappoint either and it explains how he got to be in the Gila.