About This Life: Journeys on the Threshold of Memory

Barry Lopez
The acclaimed National Book Award winner gives us a collection of spellbinding new essays that, read together, form a jigsaw-puzzle portrait of an extraordinary man. With the publication of his best-selling Of Wolves and Men, and with the astonishing originality of Arctic Dreams, Barry Lopez established himself as that rare writer whose every book is an event, for both critics and his devoted readership. Now, in About This Life, he takes us on a literal and figurative journey across the terrain of autobiography, assembling essays of great wisdom and insight. Here is far-flung travel (the beauty of remote Hokkaido Island, the over-explored Galápagos, enigmatic Bonaire); a naturalist's contention (Why does our society inevitably strip political power from people with intimate knowledge of the land small-scale farmers, Native Americans, Eskimos, cowboys?); and pure adventure (a dizzying series of around-the-world journeys with air freight everything from penguins to pianos). And here, too, are seven exquisite memory pieces hauntingly lyrical yet unsentimental recollections that represent Lopez's most personal work to date, and which will be read as classics of the personal essay for years to come.In writing about nature and people from around the world, by exploring the questions of our age, and, above all, by sharing a new openness about himself, Barry Lopez gives us a book that is at once vastly erudite yet intimate: a magically written and provocative work by a major American writer at the top of his form.

Reviews

Reviewed: 2019-11-07

There were some good lines, a little bit of beautiful language in here but in my perspective it felt like a lot of lists - where he went, who he saw, what he saw, what he knew... I felt a lot of the emotion left out - describing a sunset and saying he felt things but didn't allow the reader to feel those same things. It felt like a lot of "extra" words - He said that this happened, I felt that ..., instead of just letting the readers experience this. One thing I learned from grad school - whether in fiction or non-fiction, you should let you readers see and feel the experiences, hear the conversations, instead of telling them. Show Don't Tell professors always said. Because of this lack of emotion, I had a hard time connecting with the material in this book. I only finished it because I finish everything that I start reading, sooner or later.

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