Husher, Helen 1951–
Husher, Helen 1951–
PERSONAL: Born 1951, in Spring House, PA. Education: Boston University, B.A., 1980, M.A., 1981; attended Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY.
ADDRESSES: Home—Montpelier, VT. Office—Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education—Northeast Region, University of Vermont, Hills Bldg., Burlington, VT 05405-0082; fax: 802-656-4656. E-mail—[email protected].
CAREER: Publications manager and writer. University of Vermont, Burlington, communications specialist for Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, Northeast Region.
Off the Leash: Subversive Journeys around Vermont, Countryman Press (Woodstock, VT), 1999.
A View from Vermont: Everyday Life in America, Globe Pequot Press (Guilford, CT), 2004.
Conversations with a Prince: A Year of Riding at East Hill Farm, Lyon's Press (Guilford, CT), 2005.
Articles and stories have appeared in numerous publications, including Boston Phoenix, Vermont Life, Vermont, and Seven Days.
SIDELIGHTS: Helen Husher is the author of nonfiction books focusing on Vermont and her life in northeast New England. In Off the Leash: Subversive Journeys around Vermont Husher focuses on places and areas in Vermont that the author finds particularly appealing. Not a typical travel book in that Husher largely ignores tips and information on lodging, restaurants, and typical tourist attractions, Off the Leash instead presents an insider's look at the state, from obscure historical facts and incidents to places like the Donohue Sea Caves and the author's hometown of Randolph. In a review in Booklist, Alice Joyce noted that "Husher seems to appreciate settings with a more subtle, perhaps even more profound, resonance." Alison Hopkins, writing in Library Journal, called the book "a cross between travel essays and tourist guide," while a Publishers Weekly contributor noted that "her tour is … [bound] to stir up curiosity not only about Vermont but also about all the places lost in the daze of hotels and gift shops."
A View from Vermont: Everyday Life in America is a collection of essays in which Husher takes a look at her home state's culture and people with an emphasis on life in rural towns. In chapters such as "How to Dress like a Vermonter," "Edge of the Clearing," and "Sounds of Winter," Husher provides a loving tribute to the state where she lives. Noting that "the collection also amounts to a meditation on Yankee temperament," a Publishers Weekly contributor also wrote that "a gentle wit and uniquely philosophical approach to the everyday distinguish Husher's best writing."
While attending a horse show, Husher decided to return to the horseback-riding she had enjoyed as a child. She recounts her experiences in Conversations with a Prince: A Year of Riding at East Hill Farm. Prince, her training horse at her riding school, helps her learn not only about riding techniques but also offers her insights into horses themselves and leads Husher to recall her favorite horse during her youth. The author also ruminates on the relationship between horses and women riders and on theories about why horse riding seems to have such a broad-based appeal for women, such as the idea that it gives them a sense of power. Husher also provides her own thoughts on this topic, stressing that there is a communication between animal and rider that women enjoy. A Kirkus Reviews contributor called the book "a graceful and leisurely memoir" and also noted that the author "is extraordinarily perceptive, and her observations … are nuanced and thoughtful without drifting into sentimentality." Patsy E. Gray, writing in Library Journal, commented: "Not for horse lovers only, Husher's tome will be enjoyed by anyone with a passion for a particular activity."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Husher, Helen, Conversations with a Prince: A Year of Riding at East Hill Farm, Lyon's Press (Guilford, CT), 2005.
Booklist, September 1, 1999, Alice Joyce, review Off the Leash: Subversive Journeys around Vermont, p. 65.
Kirkus Reviews, February 15, 2005, review of Conversations with a Prince: A Year of Riding at East Hill Farm, p. 212.
Library Journal, September 1, 1999, Alison Hopkins, review Off the Leash, p. 222; June 1, 2005, Patsy E. Gray, review of Conversations with a Prince, p. 162.
Publishers Weekly, July 26, 1999, review of Off the Leash, p. 72; February 23, 2004, review of A View from Vermont: Everyday Life in America, p. 63.
Boston University Web site, http://www.bu.edu/ (July 1, 2005), brief profile of author.