"There was a view of him as a hero, wandering Canada and the swamps of the Gulf, wandering out west in awe of redwoods, bringing the news to the rest of the world. If I knew anything about him it was that version, and that’s why I had never cared, honestly: the Johnny Appleseed, the hero, the public intellectual, the starry-eyed man at rest in nature. Was that not bullshit? Some American propaganda about the woods? Yes. But what I noted in the book, and why I cared now, was the desperation in his life, the way he seemed to both flee and return to his greatest fears. Had he been less confused in his youth, or even as a grown man, we wouldn’t know John Muir at all. He would have been too normal."
— Patrick Somerville, This Bright River