I have to restrain myself from simply summarizing some these marvelous 84 essays culled from over two decades of publishing, but as with all flash, fiction as well as nonfiction, it’s the gem-like brilliance of the individual pieces that stands out.
While Rose’s story grabs reader attention, Hochschild’s book is compelling because he tells a bigger story. He shows us the gap between rich and poor during the Gilded Age and the early 20th century and educates readers in a lucid and accessible sty le about early struggles for a fairer, kinder society.
All of the pieces are powerful, richly depicted, allowing the reader access to the very core of transition. Kofman has a well-tuned sense of what works together and the pieces flow together perfectly, each essay informing the work that surrounds it, so that the overall book feels interlinked. It makes for engaging reading that is emotionally powerful throughout.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t spend time Googling these people, or that I wasn’t fascinated by the whole notion of what constitutes beauty – and the way in which it’s judged. Kofman doesn’t pretend to have an answer—Imperfect is not a didactic book, and nor does it present a thesis that beauty is more than ‘skin deep’ and that judgement in any form is bad–we cannot help gazing at the beautiful or indeed the shocking. What the book does show however, is that these are complex and important questions to raise and that familiarity and reflectiveness are a means to better understanding who we are.
Gill’s book is a tour de force in bringing together information about Virginia Woolf’s Pattle ancestors and the Thackeray connection; in showing the damaging patriarchal milieu out of which she fought her way, and in highlighting her use of autobiographical material in her novels.
Reading Fifty Miles brought me to tears a few times, but St Germain courage and determination inspired me and made me reflect as a mother. Fifty Miles is a book that won’t disappoint readers.
Davis expertly controls the narrative threads of their day-to-day reality while explaining what inspires her to write. Further into the book, these intimate details open up into a wider scope of the connection between life and art. She accomplishes this without appropriating the grief of the families with murdered children, instead Nail in the Tree tells how Davis’ life became what it is.
Having travelled the distance that Giggs takes us in Fathoms, it seems obvious that there is no choice: “Each of us now sharpens the focus dial on the future of the ocean, of the weather, of the whales and their kin.” Fathoms is a glorious, beautiful and deeply important book.
Emily Dickinson, in particular, comes across with such a delicacy and radiance that we begin to understand and sympathise with the odd recluse whose great love lasts a lifetime, and whose poetic work has not only been the beginnings of the modernist movement in poetry, but also an ongoing inspiration.
Redhouse is an exceptional science writer, and her research is extensive, making connections, incorporating anecdotes both personal and as part of her research, so that the overall effect is engaging, open-minded, informative and powerful. The hybrid effect allows for multiple perspectives that remain open-ended rather than didactic.