The Way Home

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 04 Apr 2019

Member Reviews

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Every time I picked it up it was like stepping out of the fast lane and being reminded that there is another way to live. 
I started noticing the birds singing more, slowed down my activity and even made a new friend because I slowed down enough to speak to a stranger, share a slow walk and conversation with them (they were elderly and used a walker). It was a life affirming experience, directly as a result of reading this book.
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When I started this book, written by off-grid-living Boyle, I was ready to pick holes into what I thought was by yet another smug, pontificating hippie. Like the types that wave their veganism in your face and lecture you about even looking at a menu...
I expected the well-trodden story of: [insert self–inflicted hardship*], whine at length about it, expect the reader to fall down on their knees in awe and praise them. I would have preferred less of the jibes and railings against the oh-so-condemnable world of technology and commerce, constantly patting himself on the back, but rather a more day-by-day account of things needing doing. It is also very telling that Kirstie, the girlfriend, did not seem to have a voice - contrary to all the farmers, pub buddies and “natural life” advocates Boyle quotes so extensively.
It’s all very well to condemn the vagaries of modern life, but where exactly IS the fine line? From mundane questions like “Do you have nail scissors or do you gnaw your fingernails to a practicable length? Do you make all your own containers/tools/appliances or rely on donated/discarded stuff?  Aren’t you really a bit of a freeloader (e.g. hitch-hiking)? Where does the money come from for your frequent pub visits (that’ll be the technology-soiled suckers that buy your journalistic output), and does the beer you drink there not line the pockets of multinational companies?” to much more serious questions like “What happens if you or your partner fall seriously ill? Would you take a medicine made by despicable, greedy pharma companies? And what about if your parents needed care? If you had children, would you go ahead with your chosen lifestyle?”
For my taste, this book, although containing some interesting insights, was too much of a navel-gazing frenzy.
And Mark Boyle will probably sneer: “Hah, made you think!” And he would be entirely right.

*like circumnavigating the globe in a raft hand-crocheted from plaited, ethically-sourced, fairtrade, recycled cocktail umbrellas
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An interesting memoir of a man who decides to remove himself from all modern technology and conveniences, including electricity and running water. To be self reliant and to connect with creation. I found it interesting. I expected preachy, and it was thought provoking but not overly aggressive in the conclusions hes made for himself.
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As a fellow Irish native, Mark Boyle's way of thinking and living appeal to me greatly; I admired him a lot when he essentially gave up on the money economy and this book was a brilliant look into the extreme end of zero waste. Eschewing electricity, fossil fuels and technology, Mark and his girlfriend build what they need on a slice of land in western Ireland and commit to a life without the badgering of mass human progression. Learning to farm, fish and build from his smallholding, Boyle considers the world from an ecological point of view, persistently operating to do no harm and participating fully in the food cycle as he needs to after years of being both veggie and vegan to some extent. His story is refreshing and though his commitment seems extreme, he makes clear that the reality facing us is that his actions, though radical now, may be necessary to ensure the future survival of us.
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I was slightly wary of this book, suspecting it would be a little smug.
I was probably a little smug myself as  I opened it - I grew up in rural Wales in the 50s and 60s and was about eight before we got a car, a fridge and a TV; electricity came from an unreliable generator. Last year I spent three weeks living in a similar sort of cottage to the one we lived in then, miles from a ramshackle bus stop - no internet, mobile signal, hot water, TV and so on. Piece of piss.

But that was three weeks and  Mark Boyle really goes for it, he's lighting fires neolithic style, major-composting, setting up a smokery, off grid and so on. He is very funny, very modest, very sharp on the rapidly accelerating pace of our society. Living in this way isn't retreating - you are dependent on your community and I love his portraits of neighbours and the life and energy he brings to them. Well structured - contrasting life before and after his retreat from technology and the unexpected things that we miss. At first, I didn't get much of a sense of place from his Donegal landscape, but I think I was expecting a certain sort of romanticised lyrical writing - what built though was something more honest. In the end, I could walk the place in my mind.
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I would love to do what Mark has done, on a temporary basis. I've always wanted to be technology free living off the grid. The problem is that I don't have any survival skills. I admire the author for living so primitive. This book is a lesson to everyone. It's a great read with a lot information to take in and think about. I recommend for anyone who wants to more closely examine technology and it's effects on our lives. Thanks to NetGalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review.
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A fascinating and interesting book. I liked the style of writing and I think this book is full of food for thought.
Highly recommended!
Many thanks to Oneworld Publications and Netgalley for this ARC
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Boyle's latest chronicle describes how he gave up almost all modern conveniences to live as simply as he could in a remote part of Ireland. He writes well -- especially considering that he just uses pencil and paper -- and is blessed with a rugged determination and a mad set of skills to feed himself and keep himself clean and healthy and warm. While this isn't a lifestyle that most of us would feel comfortable with, it is an impressive achievement and this tale can speak to all of us that want to reduce some of the complexities of the modern era. You'll want to dive deeper into some of his earlier columns and books that talk about his transition towards his way home, and perhaps we will all find our own ways home too.
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A fascinating look at Mark Boyle’s life style.His decision to give up modern technology  that we use as daily part of our everyday lives. .He liveson the land no car no phone no electricity or running water .He describes the hard work the joy of building his own home even his bathroom is built outside,.No phone no WiFi no tv no believe it or not refrigerator.
Mark seems happy living this simple unencombered life he opens the door for us to share his routine his small town& friendships.A lovely peek at his back to the earth existence.#netgalley #one world publication.
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The Way Home will be published in hardback in April 2019. A fascinating memoir by "moneyless man" Mark Boyle, recounting his life without modern technology on a smallholding in Ireland. Definitely a conversation starter.
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