Gaining Ground is the story of Abra, a woman who leaves her husband, children and suburban security to live as a hermit. She buys an isolated cabin and a piece of land and settles to a life without mirrors, clocks or human The first winter is tremendously hard but her senses sharpen and her muscles harden, and as her socialised masks drop away her rhythms gradually match the seasonal changes dictated by nature, giving her an inner peace and strength which had increasingly eluded her in the world of city and family life. Nine years after Abra chooses solitude and self-sufficiency, her peace is broken by her daughter, now a young woman full of questions as to how and why Abra had 'run out on her' for a life so lacking in conventional comforts. Gaining Ground is beautifully written and within a compelling story raises important and pertinent questions about the right of a woman to self-defined autonomy and solitude when her role is still seen primarily as one of caretaker and nurturer. Joan Barfoot's stunning descriptions of nature will absorb and challenge even those most addicted to socialised urban life, and will speak directly to every reader who has ever considered how frightening - or satisfying - it would be to live completely alone.
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Used availability for Joan Barfoot's Gaining Ground
April 1980 : UK Hardback
January 1998 : UK Paperback