Mark Boyle was The Moneyless Man in his memoir of that title, about the first of three years he spent living without money. The Way Home: Tales from a Life Without Technology covers another first year: Boyle has now made the shift to a life without modern technology in County Galway, Ireland. What is modern technology? Obviously, definitions are complicated, but for Boyle his new way of living means hauling his own water; fishing, foraging and gardening for his food; making his own beer and wine; and traveling by bicycle, via hitchhiking and on foot.
Organized as the diary of a year in its four seasons, The Way Home is a thoughtful study, often wise but always questioning and seeking. With frequent references to Edward Abbey, John Muir, Aldo Leopold, Robert Macfarlane, Wendell Berry, Henry David Thoreau and others, Boyle places himself in a grand tradition of intellectual naturalists and thinkers. He aims to query every decision, investigate its results: while writing this book using a pencil, he stops to consider the making of that tool. Boyle, stymied by the ecological impact of such a simple technology as a pencil, is a former vegan who now eats fish and venison. He is a man willing to rethink his outlook.
Boyle has a sense of humor as well as a deep sensitivity to the needs of people as well as the planet and its ecosystems. The result is a deeply appealing examination of nearly all aspects of modern human life, by a thorough, careful, concerned narrator. --Julia Kastner, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia