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BOOK

In August of 2001, Kaethe Schwehn needed her own, personal Eden. She was a twenty-two-year-old trying to come to terms with a failed romance, the dissolution of her parents' marriage, and her own floundering faith. At first, Holden Village, a Lutheran retreat center nestled in the Cascade Mountains, seemed like a utopian locale: communal meals, consensus decision-making, and eco-friendly practices. But as the months wore on, the idyll faded and Kaethe was left with 354 inches of snow, one prowling cougar, sixty-five disgruntled villagers, and a pile of copper mine tailings 150 feet high. Her Eden was a toxic Superfund site.

How do we navigate the space between who we are and who we would like to become, between the world as it is and world as we imagine it could be? Tailings is a lyrical memoir of intentional community told from the front lines, a passionate and awkward journey about embracing the ''in-between'' times of our lives with grace and hope.

Schwehn’s Tailings, is, like all of my favorite contemporary nonfiction, uncategorizable—part memoir, part spiritual reflection, part reportage. Brilliant in all of its guises, Tailings only makes me want to read more by Kaethe Schwehn. She writes with fierce intelligence and luminous clarity on all of her subjects: loss, grace, this very particular village, and the hard work of renewal. Tailings is a beautiful and original book by a remarkable writer.
— Rene Steinke, author of Friendswood