Synopses & Reviews
The incomparable Rebecca Solnit, author of more than a dozen acclaimed, prizewinning books of nonfiction including Men Explain Things To Me
, brings the same dazzling writing to the essays in The Encyclopedia of Trouble and Spaciousness
; hailed by the Los Angeles Times
as "globally wide-ranging and topically urgent and the Boston Globe
as "luminous and precise.". As the title suggests, the territory of Solnits concerns is vast, and in her signature alchemical style she combines commentary on history, justice, war and peace, and explorations of place, art, and community, all while writing with the lyricism of a poet to achieve incandescence and wisdom.
Gathered here are celebrated iconic essays along with little-known pieces that create a powerful survey of the world we live in, from the jungles of the Zapatistas in Mexico to the splendors of the Arctic. This rich collection tours places as diverse as Haiti and Iceland; movements like Occupy Wall Street and the Arab Spring; an original take on the question of who did Henry David Thoreaus laundry; and a searching look at what the hatred of country music really means.
Solnit moves nimbly from Orwell to Elvis, to contemporary urban gardening to 1970s California macramé and punk rock, and on to searing questions about the environment, freedom, family, class, work, and friendship. Its no wonder shes been compared in Bookforum to Susan Sontag and Annie Dillard and in the San Francisco Chronicle to Joan Didion.
The Encyclopedia of Trouble and Spaciousness proves Rebecca Solnit worthy of the accolades and honors shes received. Rarely can a reader find such penetrating critiques of our time and its failures leavened with such generous heapings of hope. Solnit looks back to history and the progress of political movements to find an antidote to despair in what many feel as lost causes. In its encyclopedic reach and its generous compassion, Solnits collection charts a way through the thickets of our complex social and political worlds. Her essays are a beacon for readers looking for alternative ideas in these imperiled times.
"What to call a journalist who writes about place while avoiding the subjects of luxury hotels, remote restaurants and urbane oddities? Not a travel writer, surely. And not an adventurer. One could do worse than answer with 'Rebecca Solnit'." The New York Times Book Review
"Insights that are acute and meaningful.... [It] leads to a different, more layered understanding of the world around us." Utne Reader
"Thoughtful, eloquent and often inspiring essays." Kirkus Reviews
"The 29 essays that make up Encyclopedia of Trouble and Spaciousness are global in their reach, combining meditations on history, politics, science, art, literature, climate change and natural disasters, and take us from the snowy tundra of the Arctic to the carnival-filled streets of New Orleans." The Daily Beast
"One mesmerizing volume...these lyrical essays stress the importance of collective action and community." Publishers Weekly
"Refreshingly coherent, profoundly smart." BBC News
"Globally wide-ranging and topically urgent . . . will surely solidify her reputation as one of our most independent and necessary freelance intellectuals." Los Angeles Review of Books
"An amazing potpourri...she brings a clarity to the messiness of ideas." Minnesota Public Radio
"One of our most provocative, thoughtful essayists." Austin American-Statesman
A sublime collection of essays. . . . a remarkable read.” Brain Pickings
"Beautifully written and fiercely argued....showcases the work of an impressive intellect and a brilliant writer." Shelf Awareness
"Whatever the subject, lets just get out of the way and let the gifted woman write." Foreword Reviews
"One of the most magnificent writers of our time." The Guardian
"Solnits essays showcase the range and power not only of nonfiction, but of words themselves." The Rumpus
"Interesting, insightful and always surprising." Houston Chronicle
"Lives up to the promise of its ambitious title." KQED, San Francisco
"Solnit's finely wrought essays probe lofty issues in ways that make them feel intensely personal." O: The Oprah Magazine
"Luminous and precise, Solnit persuades, educates, and inspires.” The Boston Globe
"It's sort of an encyclopedia and sort of isn't. It's really an anthology disguised as an encyclopedia. But no matter what label you attach to it, the important thing to remember about this book is that it was written by Rebecca Solnit, one of the best nonfiction writers working today." Chicago Tribune
About the Author
San Francisco writer Rebecca Solnit is the author of fifteen books about art, landscape, public and collective life, ecology, politics, hope, meandering, reverie, and memory. They include Men Explain Things To Me, The Faraway Nearby; Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas; A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster; Storming the Gates of Paradise; A Field Guide to Getting Lost; Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities; Wanderlust: A History of Walking; As Eve Said to the Serpent: On Landscape, Gender, and Art; and River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West, for which she received a Guggenheim fellowship, the National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism, and the Lannan Literary Award. Solnit has worked with climate change, Native American land rights, antinuclear, human rights, and antiwar issues as an activist and journalist. She is a contributing editor to Harpers and a frequent contributor to the political site Tomdispatch.com and has made her living as an independent writer since 1988.