In The Faraway Nearby, Rebecca Solnit weaves seemingly disparate topics, from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein to the birdman cult on Easter Island, with elements of her own life: her mother's advancing Alzheimer's, the collapse of a long-term relationship, a brush with cancer. The result is a book that is as fluid and boundless as a dream, and just as revealing. Solnit is a master at drawing connections in surprising ways, and in The Faraway Nearby, she marries the personal with the universal to create a fascinating read. Recommended By Renee P., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
This personal, lyrical narrative about storytelling and empathy from award winner Rebecca Solnit is a fitting companion to her beloved A Field Guide for Getting Lost.
In this exquisitely written new book by the author of A Paradise Built in Hell, Rebecca Solnit explores the ways we make our lives out of stories, and how we are connected by empathy, by narrative, by imagination. In the course of unpacking some of her own stories — of her mother and her decline from memory loss, of a trip to Iceland, of an illness — Solnit revisits fairytales and entertains other stories: about arctic explorers, Che Guevara among the leper colonies, and Mary Shelley’s Dr. Frankenstein, about warmth and coldness, pain and kindness, decay and transformation, making art and making self. Woven together, these stories create a map which charts the boundaries and territories of storytelling, reframing who each of us is and how we might tell our story.
“A brilliant, genre-refuting book…the power of The Faraway Nearby, as in Solnit's previous writing, lies in its juxtapositions, its clusters of narrative nerves…Solnit is a wanderer who collapses distance.” The San Francisco Chronicle
“A memoir made up of interlocking stories that also explore the way we use storytelling to understand ourselves and others.…In her famously lyrical prose, Solnit writes about her own life, her family, and her reading, and she revisits the myths and ideas that have shaped her world.” New Yorker.com
“Solnit opens a door into a maze of stories within stories, a dreamlike memoir composed of fairy tales, literary criticism, history, philosophy and aphorism…the product of a remarkable mind at work, one able to weave a magnificent number of threads into a single story, demonstrating how all of our stories are interconnected.” Bookforum
“Part essay collection, part memoir, and part meditation, The Faraway Nearby takes a thoughtful, fresh look at how stories function in our lives…Solnit never gives up on the idea that any of us can redefine who we are and what we want — even in our most challenging and overwhelming periods.” Oprah.com
“Solnit makes us all more daring and creative thinkers, as she intuits links between seemingly unconnected subjects, encouraging the reader to follow her lead.” The Daily Beast
“The Faraway Nearby is a masterpiece, about nothing less than the story (the myth, the fairy tale) we are living, about how we can step out of that story to become who we are, who we are meant to be. ‘The self is also a creation, the principal work of your life, the crafting of which makes everyone an artist,' says Solnit, and she is one of the few writers alive able to be our guide in this ‘unfinished work of becoming.' This book is a gift — it will make your life larger.” Nick Flynn, author of The Reenactments
About the Author
Rebecca Solnit is the author of fourteen books, including A Paradise Built in Hell, A Field Guide to Getting Lost, River of Shadows, Wanderlust: A History of Walking. and As Eve Said to the Serpent: On Landscape, Gender, and Art, which was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism. In 2003, she received the prestigious Lannan Literary Award. She lives in San Francisco.