Seven Summers

published March 2013 by University of Utah Press

Seven Summers is a story the West needs to hear. Julia Corbett breaks the pattern of tales we tell about the West and offers a gracious reinterpretation of the familiar themes of settlement, escape, belonging and change. Most of all, she makes gender matter…  To me the most important part of this narrative is the way it models strong women doing hard things in wild places… [and] enacts the insights of feminist nature criticism.

Western American Literature 2015.

Writer Julia Corbett addresses themes of independence, feminism, wildness, and balance in her multileveled memoir… Her attitude toward the land and its complex ecosystem is one of caretaking, partnership, and learning, rather than a more standard Occidental view of use-based ownership. Her loving observations of the flora and fauna in her neighborhood both respect their wildness and give the strong impression that these beings are part of her extended family.                                         Review in

“With a profound and poetic appreciation for the world around her, Corbett pens an expressive memoir of a personal journey of independence and discovery.”      review in Booklist

Seven Summers is one of those special books set in the modern American West. It is so thoroughly of its place that one could believe that it wouldn’t have relevance for those living in other areas of the country. Corbett’s quiet, eloquent writing proves that assumption wrong. Don’t think of this title as … a “Wyoming book.” Instead think of it in the same vein as Sand County Almanac… An enjoyable and compelling book to read.

review in

Seven Summers: A Naturalist Homesteads in the Modern West is the story of a naturalist-turned-professor who flees city life each summer with her pets and power tools to pursue her lifelong dream– building a cabin in the Wyoming woods. With little money and even less experience, she learns that creating a sanctuary on her mountain meadow requires ample doses of faith, patience, and luck. This mighty task also involves a gradual and sometimes painful acquisition of flexibility and humility in the midst of great determination and naive enthusiasm. For her, homesteading  is not about wresting a living from the land , but respecting and immersing herself in it — observing owls and cranes, witnessing seasons and cycles, and learning the rhythms of wind and weather in her woods and meadow. The process changes her in unexpected ways, just as it did for women homesteaders more than a century ago.

(March 2013, University of Utah Press.)