Compass Lines

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In essays that traverse latitudes and continents, John Messick's Compass Lines explores the paths we take toward belonging. Here, broken vehicles mark the porous boundaries between built and natural worlds. Deserted backpacks trace immigration routes along the US-Mexico border. A job fighting wildfire near a ghost town reveals the dangers of a life spent wandering. Slowly, as Messick learns the rhythms of seasons-through wing prints on snow, cupboard shelves stocked for winter, and quiet moments before the birth of his son-he discovers that a connection with the places we inhabit requires both movement and stillness.

From Antarctica to the Arctic, a Cambodia tattoo parlor to the Florida swamps, and from childhood to fatherhood, this deeply felt debut invites readers on a search for the most elusive landscape of all-home.

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