Leaning on Cedars
Leaning on Cedars

Leaning on Cedars

A Novel


136 Pages, 5.25 x 7.5

Formats: Hardcover

Hardcover, $14.95 (US $14.95) (CA $16.95)

Publication Date: June 2012

ISBN 9780824598990

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A modern-day Manitou—one young man's quest for identity and meaning in the snowbound wilderness

This story of initation is informed by esoteric ideas of rites of passage applied in the modern context. It is a vision quest that resonates with the social issues of our time, and especially speaks to young adults and late adolescents...though it can be reflective of anyone's experience. At age 21, Jason is unfulfilled, lacking direction, and coming out of a bitter breakup with his girlfriend. He resolves to make a fresh start, and a serendipitous encounter with a Native American elder named Chip introduces him to the notion of the Manitou—traditional initiation—where one is left alone in the wilderness to confront who one was, who one is, and who one will become. Embarking on a solitary retreat into the snow-laden Rockies, Jason soon finds himself trapped in a cave for days, where the essence of who he believed himself to be is shattered, foreshadowing an impending near-death experience. When he awakens lying on the floor of a hut, injured and aching with pain, he is met by his rescuer, Charles. Through conversations with this Good Samaritan, Jason finds new meaning in the most human of questions: how does one lead a fulfilling life?


"Reading this book makes one want to be oneself—yet in a world [that] attempts to turn us all into obedient consumers of superficial news bytes, politicians' rhetoric claims which we know to be untrue, and so much more."  —Jaan Valsiner, author, The Guided Mind

"Andrew Shurtleff has written a story filled with archetypes and brimming with wisdom beyond his years. He pours his rich inner life onto the pages, providing a glimpse into a soul dedicated to truth-seeking and truth-telling."  —David Sloan, author, Life Lessons: Reaching Teenagers through Literature

"Natural talent that flows from a thoughtfully anchored mind. It is not often that we get to be privy to the mental and emotional struggles of an intelligent young male as he seeks to make sense of life."  —Edmund Gordon, John M. Musser professor emeritus of psychology, Yale University

Author Biography

Andrew C. Shurtleff is a teaching fellow and writing consultant at Columbia University where he studies the intersection of philosophy and technology. He has worked with urban youth through a program at Princeton University. He lives in New York City.