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The Other

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In 1972, two Seattle teens, working-class Irish boy Neil Countryman and tortured trust funder John William Barry, bond over their love of adventuring in the Northwest’s vast wilderness. Countryman, who continues on to college, marriage, and a career teaching high school English, narrates the story of helping Barry drop out of society to live a hermit’s life ”without hypocrisy” in a remote, self-excavated cave. That’s it for plot in The Other, (though an inheritance does drop into Countryman’s lap), but it’s the perfect scaffolding to support author David Guterson’s absorbing meditation on what it means to grow up, sell out, and lead an honest life. A