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About This Life: Journeys on the Threshold of Memoryby Barry Holstun Lopez
Synopses & Reviews
Few authors who have read at Powell's over the years inspire an audience quite like Barry Lopez. Admittedly, at the City of Books he's playing to a home crowd. Lopez lives on a beautiful stretch of the McKenzie River about two hours south of Portland. But we suspect he has the same effect on audiences everywhere. Lopez reads, as he writes, with remarkable grace and authority. Though he is a first rate fiction writer, Lopez is probably best known for his nonfiction about the natural world. Lopez's first popular work, Of Wolves and Men, was a national bestseller and received a number of awards. His most celebrated work, Arctic Dreams: Imagination and Desire in a Northern Landscape, received the 1986 National Book Award and is now widely considered a classic of the genre.
Though Lopez writes regularly for such publications as Harper's, Paris Review, and Orion, About This Life is his first nonfiction book in several years, and includes his most personal work to date. The wise and lyrical essays in this collection recount Lopez's early life, his far flung travels to such places as Hokkaido Island, the Galápagos, and Bonaire, and, of course, a handful of eloquent pieces about the current state of our relationship to the natural world. In an earlier essay Lopez predicted the recent rise in popularity of "nature writing." He suggested that it is "that strain of American literature that, more than others now, is pursuing the ancient discourse on human fate." If that is true, with writers of the caliber of Barry Lopez, the genre is in good hands. Martin, Powells.com
The acclaimed National Book Award winner gives us a collection of spellbinding new essays that, read together, form a jigsaw-puzzle portrait of an extraordinary man.
With the publication of his best-selling Of Wolves and Men, and with the astonishing originality of Arctic Dreams, Barry Lopez established himself as that rare writer whose every book is an event, for both critics and his devoted readership. Now, in About This Life, he takes us on a literal and figurative journey across the terrain of autobiography, assembling essays of great wisdom and insight. Here is far-flung travel (the beauty of remote Hokkaido Island, the over-explored Galápagos, enigmatic Bonaire); a naturalist's contention (Why does our society inevitably strip political power from people with intimate knowledge of the land small-scale farmers, Native Americans, Eskimos, cowboys?); and pure adventure (a dizzying series of around-the-world journeys with air freight everything from penguins to pianos). And here, too, are seven exquisite memory pieces hauntingly lyrical yet unsentimental recollections that represent Lopez's most personal work to date, and which will be read as classics of the personal essay for years to come.
In writing about nature and people from around the world, by exploring the questions of our age, and, above all, by sharing a new openness about himself, Barry Lopez gives us a book that is at once vastly erudite yet intimate: a magically written and provocative work by a major American writer at the top of his form.
Book News Annotation:
A new collection of essays by the esteemed writer (Arctic Dreams, Of Wolves and Men, among other works). Seven of the 17 essays are personal memory pieces; the others touch on a wide range of travels, adventures, and observations of people and places.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
About the Author
Barry Lopez is the author of four works of nonfiction, including Arctic Dreams and Of Wolves and Men; seven works of fiction, including Field Notes and Winter Count; and a novella-length fable, Crow and Weasel. His work appears regularly in Harper's, where he is a contributing editor, as well as in The Paris Review, Orion, The Georgia Review, and elsewhere. The recipient of numerous literary awards, including the National Book Award for nonfiction, he lives in western Oregon.
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