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An Unusual and Interesting Journey,
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.