Shelter and Longing

132 pages


Genre: Nature Writing, Nature
The cabin: a small house surrounded by nature, a place for another life and another self

A cabin, and not a house, is what Petra Ahne was looking for as she was looking for a place to live in the countryside: a small cabin, with just enough space for what is necessary and with only one wall seraparting her from the surrounding nature. Enough to protect oneself, to dream, to think, to hide and prove oneself. The construction of her own cabin raises questions as to the nature of this smallest house, thus Petra Ahne set out to track cabins and the fantasies around them. She travelled with Alexis de Tocqueville to the log cabins of the American settlers, and with the survivors of a failed Antarctic expedition to the storm-tossed shelter on Elephant Island. She met a man living alone in a cabin for the last 55 years and the FBI agent who first entered the unabomber‘s wood house in Montana. She compared with the cabin dreams of the past with those of today. Today more than ever the cabin challenges our ideas of what matters and of the way we want to live.

German title: Hütten - Obdach und Sehnsucht
ISBN: 978-3-95757-710-8
Publisher: Matthes & Seitz Berlin
Publication date: 2019
Series: Naturkunden Vol. 053
Illustration: Pauline Altmann

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Sample translation

English sample available

Petra Ahne was born in 1971 in Munich. She works as a journalist for Berliner Zeitung

By the same author(s)

"Reading Cabins was a pleasure, and Pauline Altmann's fine graphic design played its part." - Jens Werkmeister, Krautjunker

"In her new book, journalist Petra Ahne explores the social projections, desires and longings associated with the hut. From the motif she works out much more than the inert moment of an urban middle class, which seeks a decelerated retreat to balance the stressful everyday life. [...] The author names the hut, which inevitably triggers feelings in us, as part of a cultural memory." - Kim Gundlach, BauNetz