Map of Enough by Molly Caro May
Molly Caro May grew up as part of a nomadic family, one proud of their international sensibilities, a tribe that never settled in one place for very long. Growing up moving from foreign country to foreign country, just like her father and grandfather, she became attached to her identity as a global woman from nowhere. But with Molly on the verge of turning thirty years old, everything changes.
In The Map of Enough, Molly and her fiancé Chris suddenly move to 107 acres in Montana, land her family owns but rarely visits, with the idea of staying for only a year. Surrounded by tall grass, deep woods, and the presence of predators, the young couple starts the challenging and often messy process of building a traditional Mongolian yurt from scratch. They finally finish just on the cusp of winter, in a snowstorm with temperatures below zero degrees. For Molly it is her first real home, yet a nomadic one, meant to be disassembled and moved at will.
Yurt life exposes the couple to nature, to the elements, and to the wildlife all around them. It also feels contrary to the modern world, and this triggers in Molly an exploration of what home means to the emergent generation. In today’s age, have globalization and technology taught us that something better, the next best thing, is always out there? How does any young adult establish roots, and how do we decide what kind of life we want to lead? How much, ever, is enough?
“In an impressive debut memoir, a self-proclaimed‘Woman of the World’ chronicles her journey to find a home. May joins the ranks of Gretel Ehrlich and Annie Proulx, celebrants of sagebrush, big skies, and journeys of self-discovery . . . May’s poetic, gleaming prose makes palpable the wildness and wind, freezing and thawing earth, delicate fragrances of grass and budding trees—and her own profound transformation.” starred Kirkus
“This is a book about possibilities—about the author’s, yes, but also about all of us.” —Bill McKibben, Oil and Honey: The Education of an Unlikely Activist
“The Map of Enough is the record of a life deeply lived, of a woman tuning herself to the earthly resonances of a severe and beautiful place. With moments so heart- breakingly rendered you’ll feel the mountain wind, she turns the old ideas of what it means to find home inside out. May has written the next great Montana memoir.” —Joe Wilkins, The Mountains and the Fathers: Growing Up on the Big Dry
“Could a woman brought up without survival skills learn to build her own shelter, split firewood, grow food? Could a browser of the Internet keep from drowning in the electronic sea of possibilities? Could she learn to be fully present to her life without hankering to be elsewhere? May tackles all these questions and more in prose as candid and lucid as an April morning. She holds the hard-won answers lightly, open to correction from fresh experience.” —Scott Russell Sanders, Earth Works: New & Selected Essays
“The Map of Enough is a joyful adventure. It doesn’t hurt that our guide on that adventure is the exuberant, complex, thoughtful, and boisterous Molly Caro May, a placeless woman trying to find her place. It turns out that that place is a yurt in Mon- tana, as archetypal as Thoreau’s cabin. In sentences that are beautiful and lyric, May makes us think about our own lives and how we choose to pass our days on earth.” —David Gessner, My Green Manifesto: Down the Charles River in Pursuit of a New Environmentalism
Molly Caro May (mollycaromay.com) is a writer whose work explores body, place and the foreign. She teaches personal narrative writing workshops across the country, though once cut her teeth as a fruit-picker, artist’s model and at a New York based publishing house. She has written for Orion Magazine, Salon, feministing, The Hairpin, and Fourth Genre, among others. Her memoir The Map of Enough: One Woman’s Search for Place (Counterpoint Press) was published in March and received the ELLE Magazine Lettres Readers Prize. She lives near Bozeman, Montana with her husband and daughter.
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