Why do we often long for solitude but dread loneliness? What happens when the walls we build around ourselves are suddenly removed—or made impenetrable? If privacy is something we can count as a basic right, why are our laws, technology, and lifestyles increasingly chipping it away?
These are somong the themes that Sue Halpern eloquently explores in these profoundly original essays. In pursuit of the riddle of solitude, Halpern talks to Trappist monks and secular hermits, corresponds with a prisoner in solitary confinement, and visits and AIDS hospice and a shelter for the homeless places where privacy is the first—and perhaps the most essential—thing to go. This is a book that lends weight to the ideas that have become dangerously abstract in a society of data bases and car faxes, a guide not only ot the routes to solitude but to the selves we discover only when we arrive there.