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The Faraway Nearby Paperback – 1 May 2014


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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Granta (1 May 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847085121
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847085122
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 43,406 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'This is no ordinary memoir. It is an extraordinary piece of work in which the personal and philosophical meet. Solnit mind is dizzyingly expansive, making poetic and sometimes less obvious connections between influences and experiences.' --Irish Times

A powerfully insightful and moving memoir that is also a mediation on travel, storytelling, illness and - perhaps above all - empathy. Fittingly for a book about the power of storytelling, Solnit is a terrific practitioner of the art. --'Book of the Week', The Lady

Solnit explores love and loss, warmth and coldness, the making of art and the remaking of the self - her distinctive, dense and at times stunning, storytelling hacks a path through the creative landscape, delving into what it is that makes us - and what it is that can ultimately break us, too. --We Love This Book

'A rather eccentric set of essays... held together by such beautiful and sublime prose.' --'Readers best books of 2013', Guardian

Solnit explores love and loss, warmth and coldness, the making of art and the remaking of the self - her distinctive, dense and at times stunning, storytelling hacks a path through the creative landscape, delving into what it is that makes us - and what it is that can ultimately break us, too. --We Love This Book

'An inspired reverie… It is peculiar and capacious, voracious in its range of allusion. The Faraway Nearby is a finely wrought and eloquent manifesto for hearing stories - and making them up' --Paperback review, Marina Warner, Guardian

'Provocative and extremely thought-provoking... it inspires nothing short of awe' --Irish Examiner

About the Author

REBECCA SOLNIT is author of, among other books, 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.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Susie B TOP 50 REVIEWER on 28 July 2013
Format: Hardcover
Prizewinning American author, Rebecca Solnit, has named her latest book after a painting by the artist Georgia O'Keeffe: 'From the Faraway, Nearby' - an interesting choice of title for an unusual and very interesting book. Part memoir, part psychological examination, Solnit uses her series of elegant and diverse essays and reflections to confront rather painful subjects, such as the intense and difficult relationship between herself and her rather bitter and resentful mother; her mother's frightening descent into dementia; and, amongst other subjects, a health crisis of the author's own.

However, this is not just an examination of illness, death and difficult family issues, nor is it a depressing book, for Rebecca Solnit uses her very competent storytelling skills to take the reader on a journey through time and landscape, where we have the opportunity to meet famous characters and look at events from their lives, whilst the author cleverly weaves their stories into her own. So, on the journey, we read about Scheherazade and 'The Arabian Nights'; Mary Wollstonecraft and her daughter, Mary Shelley, the author of 'Frankenstein'; Che Guevara; Napoleon; the Marquis de Sade; and, amongst others, the Chinese artist from the Tang dynasty, Wu Daozi, who painted a picture of a landscape with mountains and a cave, and then stepped into the cave and disappeared in order to escape the wrath of the Emperor.

Fluid and beautifully written, I found this an intriguing and rather fascinating book; one to keep on the bookshelf, to read and experience again - I am also now interested in looking at the author's previous books, perhaps starting with:A Field Guide to Getting Lost.

4 Stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. G. Morgan on 8 Jan. 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is my first encounter with Solnit, after hearing her lauded on a TED talk by an engaging Irish writer whose name I forget but who recommended her and Adam Phillips as thought-provokingly unpredictable. A few obvious things need mentioning: she is intelligent, kind and has written two pieces of this collection about her Mother suffering from Dementia, a timely subject. I was put off by one reviewer calling her "The prizewinning Rebecca Solnit" since that's as meaningless as "the prizewinning 'Rocky' " (the worst film to win the Oscar: it is indeed no guide to quality. Watch it and tremble). No quibble, there's something I think of as Creative Writing School syndrome at work here: the prose is a bit too self-conscious, it likes to be looked at, admired: its favourite is the colour purple. Now that I have sloughed off Pater's account of The Mona Lisa' as the acme of brilliant prose for that of V.S. Naipaul's lucid but austere beauty (as seen in the first sentence of his 'The Search for El Dorado'), I have trouble with any style that calls attention to itself, aside from Sir Thomas Browne's and my own! Still this may not be typical and I may grow into appreciating it, but rarely for me, I find myself lured away from Solnit's work to the latest Tony Judt (if you like history, GET IT!). I would not leave Naipaul for anything; Solnit has a way to go to approach the grumpy Trinidadian. Perhaps as a tribute to her Mother she was trying too hard, might be the kind view. I think that she needs to relax and let her prose draw closer to her skin. But to be fair it's an interesting portrait of herself and her family and the relationship with her ailing Mother is touching. It would have been a more impressive piece if RS had taken a lesson from the Spinster of Amherst.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Emma on 24 Oct. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was a bit disappointed with this book. There are some interesting and lyrical passages and the difficult relationship with her mother is honestly portrayed but there was something relentless and humourless about the writing which made me glad to get to the end. I have preferred earlier works by her.
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