On a warm August evening, Brenda Missen, a 37-year-old single, unattached writer, pitches her tent beside a lake in Canada's 7,600 square-kilometre [3,000 square-mile] Algonquin Provincial Park. She is on a four-night "reconnaissance mission," an hour's paddle from the parking lot, to find out if she has the capability-and nerve-to one day take a real canoe trip in the park interior by herself. Paddling and portaging from her campsite by day and surviving imaginary bear attacks by night, she decides she's ready. Then a ranger arrives to check her permit, and an inexplicable, powerful intuition tells her this is the person she's meant to marry. Going solo may not be necessary after all.
But the fairy tale unravels. In the wake of a broken engagement to her One True Paddling Partner, Brenda ventures into the near wilderness on a series of solo canoe trips that blow all her perceptions of romance, relationships, God, and her own self (gently) out of the water. In our high-tech, urban age, when so many people are disconnected from the natural world, Tumblehome-part spiritual memoir, part travel adventure, and great part ode to the Earth-is a timely and important exploration of where our real roots lie.