Synopses & Reviews
The Bones of The Earth is a book about landmarks, but of the oldest kind-sticks and stones. For millennia this is all there was: sticks and stones, dirt and trees, animals and people, the sky by day and night. The Lord spoke through burning bushes, through lightning and oaks. Trees and rocks and water were holy. They are commodities today and that is part of our disquiet. Howard Mansfield explores the loss of cultural memory, asking: What is the past? How do we construct that past? Is it possible to preserve the past as a vital force for the future? He writes eloquently on the land and time, on how to be a tourist of the near-at-hand, and on the forces that try to topple us. From the author of In the Memory House and The Same Ax, Twice comes The Bones of The Earth, a stunning call for reinventing our view of the future.
Mansfield explores the loss of cultural memory, asking: What is the past? How can the past be constructed? Is it possible to preserve the past as a vital force for the future?
In this graceful collection, Howard Mansfield looks anew at the New England region he's called home for over twenty years. He studies the beautiful stonework of granite bridges with a local expert; contemplates the deserted second and third stories of the old mercantile buildings that populate New England's towns and cities; and considers the cemeteries and roadside shrines that punctuate the landscape. Each exploratory adventure is written with Mansfield's typical wit and passion in prose so smooth that the deeper questions he raises appear with startling poignancy. How do our local landmarks narrate the past? What is history? Should we can we preserve its artifacts for the future? A kind of elegy for the built environment and dying customs of New England life, these essays will challenge anyone's notions of home, history, and the future that jeopardizes both.