Once, when asked for advice on how to become a writer, Lopez found himself replying: "Read. Find out what you truly believe. Get away from the familiar." This collection of essays stems directly from that philosophy. Here is far-flung travel (the beauty of remote Hokkaido Island, the over-explored Galápagos, enigmatic Bonaire); a naturalist's concerns (for endangered communities as well as their land) and pure adventure. Here, too, are seven exquisite memory pieces; beautiful, meditative recollections that will stand as classic examples of the personal essay.
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In this collection of autobiographical essays Lopez describes his journeys around the world from the Japanese island of Hokkaido to Antarctica, and from the Galapagos to his own backyard in Oregon.Review:
"Read. Find out what you truly believe. Get away from the familiar." This advice, given to a father whose daughter wants to learn to write, is the organising principle behind Barry Lopez's latest collection of essays and also the central theme behind his life as a writer. Author of 12 acclaimed books of nature writing, including the National Book Award-winning Arctic Dreams, Lopez is one of the most eloquent masters of the nearly lost art of paying attention. In this volume, a travelogue of journeys both inward and outward, he brings the same careful scrutiny to bear on the mystery of his own life and its interactions with the natural world.
Lopez has always been interested in tearing down artificial divides between nature and culture, landscape and identity, and nowhere does he do so more powerfully than in About This Life. These essays cover ground from the remote (in the group of travel essays entitled "Out of Country") to the familiar ("Indwelling"), the personal to the archetypal ("Remembrance" and "An Opening Quartet"). Whether he's joyriding around the world with air cargo, performing burials for animals found dead by the side of the road, or lamenting the commodification of the American landscape, Lopez writes with a surgeon's precision, a musician's ear, and a painter's eye for beauty found in unexpected places.
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