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About This Life: Journeys on the Threshold of Memoryby Barry Lopez
Synopses & Reviews
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.
About the Author
Barry Lopez was born in Port Chester, New York. He grew up in southern California and New York City and attended college in the Midwest before moving to Oregon, where he has lived since 1968. He is an essayist, author, and short story writer, and has traveled extensively in remote parts of the world. Recent trips have taken him to the Tanami Desert in Australia's Northern Territory, into the Transantarctic Mountains, to northern Kenya, and into the Weddell Sea in the Southern Ocean in winter.
In his nonfiction work, Lopez often writes about the relationship between the physical landscape and human culture. He is the author of Arctic Dreams, winner of the National Book Award; Of Wolves and Men, for which he received the John Burroughs Medal; and six works of fiction. He contributes regularly to Harper's, The Georgia Review, American Short Fiction, Story, The Paris Review, DoubleTake, Orion, Outside, Manoa, and other publications. His work appears in dozens of anthologies and has been widely translated.
Lopez's first stories were published in 1966, and he has been a full-time writer since leaving graduate school in 1970. Prior to 1981, he worked as a landscape photographer, and he continues to maintain close contact with a diverse community of artists. He has collaborated with composer John Luther Adams on several theater and concert productions, has spoken at exhibitions of the work of sculptor Michael Singer and photographer Robert Adams, and has written about painter Alan Magee and potter Richard Rowland. He collaborated with playwright Jim Leonard, Jr., on a stage production of his illustrated fable, Crow and Weasel, which opened at the Children's Theater in Minneapolis, and has worked with music producer Manfred Eicher at ECM Records in Munich developing prose for a recording project. Currently he is working with painter and printmaker Robert Eschner, with whom he published in 1997 a fine-press limited-edition book, Apologia, now in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum, the New York Public Library, Stanford, Yale, the universities of Georgia, Notre Dame, and Washington, and other institutions.
Barry Lopez has received an award from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Lannan Foundation Award, and a Governor's Award, as well as Pushcart Prizes for both his fiction and nonfiction writing.
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