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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: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 27,472 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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3.6 out of 5 stars
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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 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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I like the way Rebecca Solnit writes, so for me I enjoyed the book. I think some may find her musings a little long winded, but for me it was a good holiday read. It dragged a bit in the middle but there were some lovely ideas in it.
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By P. Chapman on 30 Nov 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
She's my find of the year, I love her books.
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7 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Kartowidjojo on 17 Jun 2013
Format: Hardcover
THE FARAWAY NEARBY is a collection of essays on a variety of topics. Solnit has a very straightforward matter of fact style which raises the collection little t0o high towards academia, without providing much by way of credentials. I am reminded of Woolf's THE COMMON READER. The work is entirely humorless and more than a little show-offish.

The first two and final essays concern Solnit's mother, and her Alzheimer's. They are unsentimental and direct. They are both exciting, and informative. At that time I had no idea if I was reading fiction or not. I wish I had been, because they were a very promising beginning and a pleasing antidote to other more `empathetic' works I have recently read on the subject. Thereafter we are into Solnit's thoughts about literature, generally mythology and fairy tales, generally in the frozen North or South and generally concerned with the role of landscape in creating a fairy tale culture.

Essay writing is both tremendously competitive and a difficult commercial prospect. I found the collection interesting, but not very. I don't entirely trust Solnit's research and I was constantly heading for Wikipedia. She's certainly not Foster Wallace or Marilynne Robinson, nowhere close. I'd read one, mostly, in the New Yorker but I certainly wouldn't advise anyone to buy the book.
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