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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Unusual and Interesting Journey
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,...
Published 12 months ago by Susie B

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6 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Do people actually read this stuff? Or just write it?
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...
Published 13 months ago by Kartowidjojo


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Unusual and Interesting Journey, 28 July 2013
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Susie B - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Faraway Nearby (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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4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read if you like to meander, 29 Aug 2013
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D. Gold - See all my reviews
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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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6 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Do people actually read this stuff? Or just write it?, 17 Jun 2013
This review is from: The Faraway Nearby (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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The Faraway Nearby
The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit (Paperback - 1 May 2014)
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