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Becoming a Mountain

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About the Author

Stephen Alter is the author of fifteen works of fiction and nonfiction. His honors include a Guggenheim fellowship and a Fulbright award. He was writer-in-residence for ten years at MIT and directed the writing program at the American University in Cairo. He is founding director of the Mussoorie Writers' Mountain Festival. He resides with his wife in Mussoorie, India.


2015 Winner of Kekoo Naoroji Book Award for Himalayan Writing, conferred by the Himalayan Club "A rich, satisfying memoir that plumbs the depths--and acknowledges the limits--of both man and mountain. There are many treasures to discover in this insightful memoir of hiking and healing in the Himalayas... [Alter] convincingly brings to life the culture, terrain, flora and fauna of the Himalayas ... [and] offers a multifaceted consideration of life's tough truths and stunning splendors."--Kirkus Reviews, starred review "Climbing out of the ache and nightmare of a vicious, life-threatening attack at his home in the Indian hill town of Mussoorie, Stephen Alter writes beautifully of his forays into the Himalaya. By turns rigorous and enlivening, his ascents, circumnavigations, and retreats deliver him back to himself, refreshed, chastened, healed, and fully alive. A wondrous book."--Gretel Ehrlich, author of Facing the Wave "In the tradition of the best nature writers, Stephen Alter combines an intimate knowledge of the landscape and a scrupulous attention to detail with a profound awareness of its sublime and sacred nature that underlies and unites it all."--Anita Desai, author of The Artist of Disappearance "Becoming a Mountain is a gorgeous piece of writing: Richard Haliburton's thrilling adventure stories combined with Annie Dillard's close observation of nature combined with Anne Morrow Lindbergh's quiet philosophical and personal reflection. I don't think anyone could write about a personal journey through nature more beautifully or thoughtfully."--Alan Lightman, author of Mr g and Einstein's Dreams "No writer describes a Himalayan quest with greater insight and clarity than Stephen Alter, whose Becoming a Mountain is a lovely and compelling book, a delight to read. Alter seeks spiritual solace on treks among such high Himalayan peaks as Nanda Devi and Kailash. His radiant vision of the mountains includes the joy of walking, natural history, violent storms, and local myths and religious ceremonies, all filling him with bliss and exhilaration, as they do the reader."--George B. Schaller, vice president of Panthera and author of Tibet Wild "I had the good fortune to grow up with Steve Alter in the Himalayas. The mystery and majesty of that place stay with you forever. His own experiences there have been unimaginably difficult ... and unimaginably wonderful. In this book he beautifully illuminates the power of those mountains to heal, and to inspire."--Chris Anderson, TED Curator "Beautifully written ... a source of joy to anyone interested in knowing about Nature and our connection with it, especially if mountains are involved." --Bani Sodermark,

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