What a gorgeous meditation on life — all of it, from delicate moments of peace in a backyard garden to the life-altering landmarks of birth, death, love, and loss. Two intertwined narratives weave a loving portrait of nature, family, and the beauty of every small moment. Recommended By Mary S., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
An Indie Next Selection for July 2019
An Indies Introduce Selection for Summer/Fall 2019
From New York Times opinion writer Margaret Renkl comes an unusual, captivating portrait of a family — and of the cycles of joy and grief that inscribe human lives within the natural world.
Growing up in Alabama, Renkl was a devoted reader, an explorer of riverbeds and red-dirt roads, and a fiercely loved daughter. Here, in brief essays, she traces a tender and honest portrait of her complicated parents — her exuberant, creative mother; her steady, supportive father — and of the bittersweet moments that accompany a child's transition to caregiver.
And here, braided into the overall narrative, Renkl offers observations on the world surrounding her suburban Nashville home. Ringing with rapture and heartache, these essays convey the dignity of bluebirds and rat snakes, monarch butterflies and native bees. As these two threads haunt and harmonize with each other, Renkl suggests that there is astonishment to be found in common things: in what seems ordinary, in what we all share. For in both worlds — the natural one and our own — "the shadow side of love is always loss, and grief is only love's own twin."
Gorgeously illustrated by the author's brother, Billy Renkl, Late Migrations is an assured and memorable debut.
"A melding of flora, fauna and family . . . Renkl captures the spirit and contemporary culture of the American South better than anyone." BookPage
"Beautifully written, masterfully structured, and brimming with insight into the natural world, Late Migrations can claim its place alongside Pilgrim at Tinker Creek and A Death in the Family. It has the makings of an American classic." Ann Patchett, author of Commonwealth
"A series of redolent snapshots and memories that seem to halt time. . . . [Renkl's] narrative metaphor becomes the miraculous order of nature . . . in all its glory and cruelty; she vividly captures 'the splendor of decay.'" Kirkus
"[Late Migrations] is shot through with deep wonder and a profound sense of loss. It is a fine feat, this book. Renkl intimately knows that 'this life thrives on death' and chooses to sing the glory of being alive all the same." Booklist
"[A] magnificent debut . . . Renkl instructs that even amid life's most devastating moments, there are reasons for hope and celebration. Readers will savor each page and the many gems of wisdom they contain." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
About the Author
Margaret Renkl is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times, where her essays appear weekly. Her work has also appeared in Guernica, Literary Hub, Proximity, and River Teeth, among others. She serves as editor of Chapter 16, the daily literary publication of Humanities Tennessee, and is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Carolina. She lives in Nashville.
Margaret Renkl on PowellsBooks.Blog
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