||2013 Powell's Staff Top 5s
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.
“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
“Scheherazade nested one tale inside another in order to save her life; Rebecca Solnit dovetails her own intricate stories to trace the seemingly disparate but profoundly connected elements of a life: a hundred pounds of apricots, a mother vanishing into a haze of forgetting, the allure of ice, the way we locate ourselves in the world through telling stories, finding a voice for the silent self who becomes real as she or he is spoken. When you sit down to a new book by Solnit, you know that you'll come up from it changed: the world seems both more clear and more mysterious at once. Here's one of the most trustworthy voices we have; Rebecca Solnit makes, in book after marvelous book, a new map of the world.” Mark Doty, author of Fire to Fire: New and Selected Poems
About the Author
Rebecca Solnit is the author of numerous books, including Hope in the Dark, River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West, 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.