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Publisher's Summary

The unforgettable story of one woman who leaves behind her hardscrabble childhood in Alaska to travel the country via freight train — a beautiful memoir about forgiveness, self-discovery, and the redemptive power of nature, perfect for fans of Wild or Educated.

Named One of the Best Books of the Year by The Philadelphia Inquirer • “An urgent read. A courageous life. Quinn’s story burns through us and bleeds beauty on every page.” (Noé Álvarez, author of Spirit Run: A 6,000-Mile Marathon Through North America’s Stolen Land)

After a childhood marked by neglect, poverty, and periods of homelessness, with a mother who believed herself to be the reincarnation of the Virgin Mary, Carrot Quinn moved out on her own. She found a sense of belonging among straight-edge anarchists who taught her how to traverse the country by freight trains, sleep in fields under the stars, and feed herself by foraging in dumpsters. Her new life was one of thrilling adventure and freedom, but still she was haunted by the ghosts of her lonely and traumatic childhood.

The Sunset Route is a powerful and brazenly honest adventure memoir set in the unseen corners of the United States — in the Alaskan cold, on trains rattling through forests and deserts, as well as in low-income apartments and crowded punk houses — following a remarkable protagonist who has witnessed more tragedy than she thought she could ever endure and who must learn to heal her own heart. Ultimately, it is a meditation on the natural world as a spiritual anchor, and on the ways that forgiveness can set us free.

©2021 Carrot Quinn (P)2021 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"This beautiful memoir of forgiveness, redemption, and the power of the human spirit is more important than ever before. Carrot Quinn’s story is one of bravery writ large, of our ability and inclination to save ourselves in the face of trauma, anchored and steadied by the mundane magnificence of the natural world. I was captivated by it.” (Elissa Altman, author of Motherland)

“An intimate memoir of loneliness and hope.” (Kirkus

The Sunset Route is a captivating tale of hope and profound courage. Carrot Quinn tells her story with unflinching honesty and grit, illuminating the magic and majesty of the landscapes of the American West. The story unfolds like an adventure on every page. I felt the railways rumble beneath me and the cold wind blow through my hair and had to remind myself to breathe. Carrot Quinn’s brave spirit shines as a bright reminder that what lies within us is stronger and more powerful than any circumstance. The Sunset Route is as inspiring as it is heartbreaking. By the end, I wanted to stand up and cheer for Quinn as she carved her own path to redemption.” (Ruth Wariner, author of the New York Times best seller The Sound of Gravel

What listeners say about The Sunset Route

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Not my usual book

not the kind of book I usually read but I seriously enjoyed it. it was a very personal journey that she shared, you should plan to shoplift a copy today.

1 person found this helpful

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Raw, vulnerable, strong and beautiful.

This story was therapeutic to read. When telling my husband about it, he asked why I was reading it since it seemed so sad. I told him I related and there was solace not only in not feeling alone, but also in the beautiful descriptions of ugly situations. As she describes things, it slows time nearly to a standstill, like the time between heartbeats. Stunning. Beauty. Strength.
Thank you Carrot Quinn. You put words to things I have not. You allowed me to feel things that I’ve only recently given myself permission to acknowledge.
You are a talented writer and a remarkable human.

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Narration detracts from story

I loved the story and the writing. I just wish Audible would get better narrators. Usually the author is the best narrator. No offense to Erin Spencer but her voice is wrong for this story. Her voice sounds like a very young sorority girl, privileged and private schooled. Her voice is way too sweet for this gritty hardscrabble story. I wish we could hear Carrot.

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Wow a heartbreaking & ultimately beautiful story

This is a great companion to "Thru Hiking Will.Break Your Heart". Really inspiring how Carot turns a chilhood filled with pain into a lifetime of adventure.

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Thank you Carrot!

Carrot Quinn weaves such a beautifully, sickeningly real portrait of herself, her schizophrenic mother, the people with whom she interacts during her travels, I LOVE feeling like I’m in her shoes while listening. Her first book was wonderful, especially because I love hiking memoirs so much, but this one has a maturity of structure and cadence that really lets her talent shine. I also love this narrator. Sometimes I forget I’m listening to a book at all and the story plays in my head like a film. I loved it. Good story, good writing, good reading. I sure hope CQ has more books in her.

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Favorite Reader reading a Favorite Author

Erin Spencer is my favorite reader. And in Sunset Route, she's reading one of my favorite authors. Carrot Quinn has a spellbinding flair for description and Erin Spencer has a magical ability to portray that description in a compelling way. Sometimes Carrot's writing reminds me of John Steinbeck... so simple yet so powerful. I never wanted this book to end. Through her writing, Carrot has directed my attention and opened my eyes to a number of issues that as an older white, male, I have turned away from for my entire life... poverty, hunger, mental illness, gender ambivalence... and more. This book was nothing short of enriching... Yet Carrot was never preachy or moralizing. In fact, she was uplifting. She seems to see the world in a magical and hopeful way that is something for me to try to emulate. I was entirely absorbed by this throughout the book. The rail riding parts were completely unexpected and eye opening... also riveting... I have never read anything about that life. People who have tasted that lifestyle don't usually end up writing books about it. I guess they're lucky to even survive it. In that way, Carrot almost has a duty to keep writing in that she has experienced these worlds... and people like me have not. I listened to this book twice, as I did her other book, Thru Hiking will Break Your Heart (another gem read by Erin Spencer). Carrot is an important author and I see myself reading (or listening to) everything she writes... especially if Erin Spencer is the performer.

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Now I want to listen to Carrot's first book again

great narrator. story line goes back and fourth through time in a some what confusing way that had me losing track of some of Carrot's travel companions.

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U go Carrot

Haha….. a joy to hear and a great read without over dramatization. Especially for people that feel under privileged to the point of exhaustion. Go figure it out like Carrot rather than be defeated and depressed by pity. Carrots are good for the eyes!

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Wonderful story from an extremely interesting author

Such a good story. Wild times, hard relationships. Highly recommended. Carrot's words are just beautiful.

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Loved this book

The plot is not complicated. So if you’re the person that likes a lot of action then this might not be a book. I however loved it. Her narration is fabulous and I just couldn’t put it down.

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  • Josho
  • 11-05-21

Beautiful, fun, and heartbreaking

I found Sunset Route a beautiful experience. Carrot’s strength and sense of adventure is enthralling. Juxtaposing her difficult childhood with free travel and coming of age stories of her 20s, Sunset simultaneously broke my heart and filled it up. Thank you Carrot for sharing your unique story and keeping me such good company the past week and a half!

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  • doom
  • 07-12-21

Beautiful, wonderful.

A captivating account of modern day poverty and survival among the often ignored industrial landscape of a falsely glistening America. A story of struggle through the refusal to accept the existence society lays out before us.
Devoured it in a day and always wanting more of Carrot Quinn's writing.