Living in the Swamp

October 2017 Feature Web Exclusive

Looking for you next read? How about leaving the over-populated land of fiction and diving into a true account from Gwen Roland? Her book, Atchafalaya Houseboat: My Years in the Louisiana Swampdetails her eight-year long adventure in her hand-crafted houseboat in the swamps.

In the inside of the fron cover, there's a lovely synopsis:

“In the early 1970s, two idealistic young people -- Gwen Carpenter Roland and Calvin Voisin -- decided to leave civilization and re-create the vanished simple life of their great-grandparents in the heart of Louisiana's million-acre Atchafalaya River Basin Swamp. Armed with a box of crayons and a book called How to Build Your Home in the Woods, they drew up plans to recycle a slave-built structure into a houseboat. Without power tools or building experience they constructed a floating dwelling complete with a brick fireplace. Towed deep into the sleepy waters of Bloody Bayou, it was their home for eight years. This is the tale of the not-so-simple life they made together -- days spent fishing, trading, making wine, growing food, and growing up -- told by Gwen with grace, economy, and eloquence.

“Not long after they took up swamp living, Gwen and Calvin met a young photographer named C. C. Lockwood, who shared their "back to the earth" values. His photographs of the couple going about their daily routine were published in National Geographic magazine, bringing them unexpected fame. More than a quarter of a century later, after Gwen and Calvin had long since parted, one of Lockwood's photos of them appeared in a National Geographic collector's edition entitled 100 Best Pictures Unpublished -- and kindled the interest of a new generation.

“With quiet wisdom, Gwen recounts her eight-year voyage of discovery -- about swamp life, wildlife, and herself. A keen observer of both the natural world and the ways of human beings, she transports readers to an unfamiliar and exotic place.”

Told in the protagonist’s own voice, this story embodies the desire we all secretly harbor to escape from normalcy and forge our own paths out in the great unknown.

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