The July 2021 Fantastic Strangelings Book Club pick of the month! Want to join our might band of misfits? Click here for details!
The unforgettable story of one woman who leaves behind her hardscrabble childhood in Alaska to travel the country via freight train—a beautiful memoir about forgiveness, self-discovery, and the redemptive power of nature, perfect for fans of Wild or Educated.
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER • “An urgent read. A courageous life. Quinn’s story burns through us and bleeds beauty on every page.”—Noé Álvarez, author of Spirit Run: A 6,000-Mile Marathon Through North America’s Stolen Land
After a childhood marked by neglect, poverty, and periods of homelessness, with a mother who believed herself to be the reincarnation of the Virgin Mary, Carrot Quinn moved out on her own. She found a sense of belonging among straight-edge anarchists who taught her how to traverse the country by freight trains, sleep in fields under the stars, and feed herself by foraging in dumpsters. Her new life was one of thrilling adventure and freedom, but still she was haunted by the ghosts of her lonely and traumatic childhood.
The Sunset Route is a powerful and brazenly honest adventure memoir set in the unseen corners of the United States—in the Alaskan cold, on trains rattling through forests and deserts, as well as in low-income apartments and crowded punk houses—following a remarkable protagonist who has witnessed more tragedy than she thought she could ever endure and who must learn to heal her own heart. Ultimately, it is a meditation on the natural world as a spiritual anchor, and on the ways that forgiveness can set us free.
About the Author
Carrot Quinn is a long-distance hiker and writer. She splits her time between Alaska and the open spaces of the western United States. She is the author of the book Thru-Hiking Will Break Your Heart: An Adventure on the Pacific Crest Trail.
“This beautiful memoir of forgiveness, redemption, and the power of the human spirit is more important than ever before. Carrot Quinn’s story is one of bravery writ large, of our ability and inclination to save ourselves in the face of trauma, anchored and steadied by the mundane magnificence of the natural world. I was captivated by it.”—Elissa Altman, author of Motherland
“An intimate memoir of loneliness and hope.”—Kirkus
“The Sunset Route is a captivating tale of hope and profound courage. Carrot Quinn tells her story with unflinching honesty and grit, illuminating the magic and majesty of the landscapes of the American West. The story unfolds like an adventure on every page. I felt the railways rumble beneath me and the cold wind blow through my hair and had to remind myself to breathe. Carrot Quinn’s brave spirit shines as a bright reminder that what lies within us is stronger and more powerful than any circumstance. The Sunset Route is as inspiring as it is heartbreaking. By the end, I wanted to stand up and cheer for Quinn as she carved her own path to redemption.”—Ruth Wariner, author of the New York Times bestseller The Sound of Gravel
“At once a high-speed journey through the gritty heart of the American West and a wrenching memoir of tragedy and transcendence, The Sunset Route held me rapt from start to finish. In lush, reverent prose, Carrot Quinn describes the roots of her pain and the natural world in which she found solace and solidarity. The result is a singular work of adventure, kinship, and grace I didn’t want to end, and will never forget.”—Allie Rowbottom, author of Jell-O Girls
“Carrot Quinn has faced brutal hardships in her life and still manages to have hope and to see profound beauty in this broken world. A wild, inspiring story, at once gutting and uplifting, The Sunset Route is a remarkable portrait of self-discovery—and it made me want to join Carrot on a train across the country.”—Cameron Esposito, author of Save Yourself
“The Sunset Route is at once rhapsodic and harrowing. Quinn delivers a raw and unflinching account of both the constant movement and the graceful stillness required to truly know oneself. . . . Gritty and wondrous.”—Kristin Knight Pace, author ofThis Much Country