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Alden Jones: The Wanting Was a Wilderness Book Cover

Jones intended to write a reckoning with a contemporary literary classic — but she has written far more than that. To carefully dissect WILD, she finds she must consider her own quests: her own time in the wild; her self-discoveries as a queer woman; and how she can both live and tell an authentic story. This is a beautiful, lyric, unexpected book about the power of memoir and how desire both leads us into the wilderness and makes for us a map. The Wanting Was a Wilderness is book for readers, true readers, to treasure.“— Alex Marzano-Lesnevich

In The Wanting Was a Wilderness, Alden Jones initiates a smartly syncopated call-and- response with Cheryl Strayed’s Wild, the book that helped her make sense of a past turbulent with conflicting desires. Embedded in the saga of her own wilderness trek is Jones’s open-eyed and completely compelling account of the dynamics of love and sexuality. The book builds itself—beautifully—as Jones keeps asking herself how to best present her story. This is how craft makes a memoir come to life.” —Sven Birkerts

The Wanting Was a Wilderness defies genre—part literary analysis, part memoir, part rumination on memoir and memoir writing. Alden Jones explores her own private wilderness as she takes us along on Cheryl Strayed’s hike. This journey through Jones’s life, and her intelligent, thoughtful considerations of literature and writing, is one you will not want to miss. Jones asks us: What’s in your pack? And that is the question that ultimately resonates: As you think about your wilderness, what’s in your pack?” —Ann Hood

The Wanting Was a Wilderness is so much more than a work of literary criticism or a memoir. It is a manifesto on how to live an honest and authentic life. Brilliant!” —Bobbi Brown