Tuesday, August 19, 2014

50BC14: #1 Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost

A Field Guide to Getting LostA Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is quite possibly one of the best books I have read in the last ten years. Rebecca Solnit weaves together threads in a tapestry of colors that may seem unrelated, but then you step back and realize what an amazing and beautiful work she has created. From Simone Weil to the Clash, Solnit takes you on a journey of getting lost, with the markers of her own experience to guide you. She engages in what she calls the "delicate work of awareness" and invites the reader to do the same, but without artifice, psycho-babble, or reaching too far out of reality.

As a historian, I found this passage particularly stunning and resonant:

A man once told me that much of my writing was about loss, that that was how I imagined the world, and I thought about that comment for a long time. In that sense of loss two streams mingled. One was the historian's yearning to hang onto everything, write everything down, to try to keep everything from slipping away, and the historian's joy in retrieving out of archives and interviews what was almost forgotten, almost out of reach forever. But the other stream is the common experience that too many things are vanishing without replacement in our time. At any given moment the sun is setting someplace on earth, and another day is slipping away largely undocumented as people slide into dreams that will seldom be remembered when they awaken. Only the continuation of abundance makes loss sustainable, make it natural. There are more sunrises coming, but even dreams could be emptied out.

No comments: