The Faraway Nearby | Granta

  • Published: 01/05/2014
  • ISBN: 9781847085122
  • 129x20mm
  • 272 pages

The Faraway Nearby

Rebecca Solnit

Gifts come in many guises. One summer, Rebecca Solnit was bequeathed three boxes of ripening apricots, which lay, mountainous, on her bedroom floor – a windfall, a riddle, an emergency to be dealt with. The fruit came from a neglected tree that her mother, gradually succumbing to memory loss, could no longer tend to. From this unexpected inheritance came stories spun like those of Scheherazade, who used her gifts as a storyteller to change her fate and her listener’s heart.

As she looks back on the year of apricots and emergencies, Solnit weaves her own story into fairytales and the lives of others – the Marquis de Sade, Mary Shelley and Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara. She tells of unexpected invitations and adventures, from a library of water in Iceland to the depths of the Grand Canyon. She tells of doctors and explorers, monsters and moths. She tells of warmth and coldness, of making art and re-making the self.

Like Simon Schama, Solnit is a cultural historian in the desert-mystic mode, trailing ideas like swarms of butterflies

Harper's

Her writerly digressions obey shapely geometry, not random dérive. [The book is] artfully composed to a unifying scheme, which arises from Solnit's commitment to the storytelling craft and its necessary devices... Finely-wrought, intense and eloquent

Marina Warner, Guardian

[A] passionately imperfect, extremely moving, original and humane book... Beautiful

Joanna Kavenna, Literary Review

The Author

Rebecca Solnit is author of, among other books, Call Them By Their True Names, The Mother of All Questions, Men Explain Things to Me, Wanderlust, A Field Guide to Getting Lost, the NBCC award-winning River of Shadows and A Paradise Built in Hell. A contributing editor to Harper’s, she writes regularly for the London Review of Books and the Los Angeles Times. She lives in San Francisco.

More about the author →

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