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Things That Areby Amy Leach
Synopses & Reviews
Of all the wondrous things that are catalogued in this brave little book, the most wondrously fresh and novel may be the uncanny Ms. Leachs own gamin-sly, rhythm-rhymey voice, and oh that flint-flighty, rapt-capacious mind of hers. Besides which, no one conjures a presenter present tense than she. Sheer scrambling delight.”
—Lawrence Weschler, author of Mr Wilson's Cabinet of Wonder and Uncanny Valley: Adventures in the Narrative
Like a descendant of Lewis Carroll and Emily Dickinson, Amy Leach brings new meaning to the world without us, and within. A reader entering this book to learn more about the universe will exit knowing much more about her own self. At once large and intimate, these essays introduce one of the most exciting and original writers in America.”
—Yiyun Li, author of Gold Boy, Emerald Girl and The Vagrants
I know of no other writer on earth—or in the sky—like Amy Leach. One of the pleasures of Things That Are is the surprise of finding, among the mouldywarps and whimwhams and leguminous exoplanets of our galaxy, truths about ourselves—unearthed and unaired.”
—Eula Biss, author of Notes from No Mans Land
—David Abram, author of Becoming Animal
In a series of essays that progress from the tiniest Earth dwellers to far-flung celestial bodies—considering everything from the similarity of gods to donkeys, to exploding stars and exploding sea cucumbers—Amy Leach (Rona Jaffe and Whiting Award winner) rekindles our communion with the world. This groundbreaking debut delights and confounds the senses in wondrous ways.
© Nate Christopherson
"In her first book, illustrated by Nate Christopherson, Whiting Award — winner Leach has produced a collection of creative nonfiction essays that unfortunately comes across as twee. The recipe: animate inanimate objects, personify animals, add a dash of hypothetical wonder, throw in hard facts, end your essay with a question, and presume connections between the tangible and ephemeral. Repeat. While Leach is able to create moments of verbal delight ('Who can twig the intricated soul of the pirouetting bird?'), her forays into pop philosophy prove less effective: 'But... who... who... does not miss everything?' Essays such as 'Warbler Delight' are more successful, especially when Leach's sense of wonder matches the small feats of the subject. However, other diatribes of delight border on the obvious and insubstantial. Allowing for too many authorial indulgences, Leach's extreme individuality veers into inscrutability. B&w illus. Agent: Jin Auh, the Wylie Agency. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
The debut collection of a writer whose accolades precede her: a Whiting Award, a Rona Jaffe Award, a Best American Essays selection, and a Pushcart Prize, all received before her first book-length publication. This book represents a major break-out of an entirely new brand of nonfiction writer, in a mode like that of Ander Monson, John D'Agata, and Eula Biss, but a new sort of beast entirely its own.
Things That Are takes jellyfish, fainting goats, and imperturbable caterpillars as just a few of its many inspirations. In a series of essays that progress from the tiniest earth dwellers to the most far flung celestial bodies—considering the similarity of gods to donkeys, the inexorability of love and vines, the relations of exploding stars to exploding sea cucumbers—Amy Leach rekindles a vital communion with the wild world, dormant for far too long. Things That Are is not specifically of the animal, the human, or the phenomenal; it is a book of wonder, one the reader cannot help but leave with their perceptions both expanded and confounded in delightful ways.
About the Author
Since receiving her MFA from the University of Iowa in 2005, Amy Leach has been recognized with the Whiting Writers Award (2010), a Best American Essays selection (2009), a Rona Jaffe Foundation Award (2008), and a 2011 Pushcart Prize. Her essays have appeared in numerous literary journals and reviews, including Tin House, Orion Magazine, A Public Space, and Los Angeles Review. She lives in Chicago, where she plays the piano, performs in a bluegrass band, and teaches writing at Loyola and Northwestern Universities.
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