Lift Reading List: Carol Dunbar’s “The Net Beneath Us”

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In 2002, Carole Dunbar and her family made a drastic life change, moving off the grid into the woods of Northern Wisconsin. Twenty years later, we get Dunbar’s debut novel The Net Beneath Us which is largely based on her own experiences.

“Told over the course of a year, The Net Beneath Us is a lyrical exploration of loss, marriage, parenthood, and self-reliance; a tale of how the natural world — without and within us — offers us healing, if we can learn where to look.

In the aftermath of her husband’s logging accident, Elsa Arnasson is determined to carry on while caring for their two small children in the unfinished house he was building for them in the woods of rural Wisconsin.”

The Net Beneath Us -Carol Dunbar

Dunbar’s own husband was in table-saw accident, “He had to take a year off to heal his right hand. Our kids were 2 and 5. It was fall and winter was coming. And I didn’t know how to split firewood.”

Dunbar moved off the grid to become a writer. She lived in Minneapolis, working theatre. “I wasn’t happy. I took me a while to realize I was a story teller working in the wrong art form,” she tells us. Dunbar’s husband saw an add for an off-grid homestead sawmill, which help him start building furniture from his own trees. “We came with our fifteen month old daughter, our aging dog, our city shoes, and our bug spray. It’s been 20 years.”