The Nude Beach Notebook
Barbara J. Scot
In this engaging new memoir, a loose sequel to her earlier Prairie Reunion, Barbara J. Scot explores her reluctance and longing to reconnect with a much-loved brother, lost to alcoholism for thirty years.
Scot uses long, meditative walks on the “clothing optional” beach of the idyllic Sauvie Island near Portland, Oregon, to explore family responsibility, time’s passage, and faith. She weaves entries from her notebook—a record of the island’s wildlife, descriptions of the “Odd Ones” she encounters on the beach, and stories about the native people who once lived on the river—with the main narrative, tracing her search for her brother, her close friendship with a fellow writer, and daily life on the moorage. Scot considers the uses of fiction and non-fiction in memory as well as in writing, the brevity and beauty of human existence, and the inscrutable, enduring mystery of death.
In The Nude Beach Notebook, Scot highlights the importance of place as a means for exploring and interpreting one’s own story. In the end, her walks on Sauvie Island lead to her own redemptive journey.
About the author
In addition to The Nude Beach Notebook and Child of Steens Mountain (with Eileen McVicker) Barbara J. Scot is the author of The Violet Shyness of their Eyes: Notes from Nepal, a Pacific Northwest Booksellers Book Award winner; Prairie Reunion, a New York Times Notable Book; and The Stations of Still Creek. She taught public school for twenty-six years and was a Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal. Scot lives with her husband in a houseboat on Sauvie Island, near Portland, Oregon.
Eileen O’Keeffe McVicker and Barbara J. Scot are neighbors on Sauvie Island, north of Portland, Oregon, who met while walking their dogs.
Read more about this author
View an excerpt here.
“As Barbara Scot invites us along on her daily Sauvie Island walks, she deftly weaves together not only her own complicated personal history but the history and life of that beautiful island. And as she asks questions of herself, questions that most of us will have asked of ourselves at some time or another, her story becomes the story of us all, our lives rooted in place and family. The Nude Beach Notebook is just a beautiful book, a book of great heart and intelligence and rigorous honesty—an elegant and moving evocation of the ghosts that haunt families, and the spirits inherent in the landscapes where we walk.”
—Molly Gloss, author of The Jump-Off Creek, The Dazzle of Day, Wild Life, and The Hearts of Horses