PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewIn the second half of these six walks, the author has recovered from his heartbreak and, perhaps inevitably, the work reflects this loss of urgency. Yet Shattuck shrewdly navigates the shift, turning his attention to the usefulness of sorrow, how underappreciated our painful moments are when we are in them ... In writing of his walks, the author hits a few helpful notes of atonement, acknowledging Thoreau’s racism toward Native Americans and his own privilege ... He also addresses larger sorrows of our time, including the impact of climate change on the beaches he walks. Mainly, though, Shattuck seeks to comfort himself, and his book is thus comforting. Grief in various permutations has become a near-constant companion to thinking people in our time, and so it seems we all could use a good, long walk right about now, something to restore our spiritual balance. And who better to guide us than Thoreau, whose writing, like his walking, is tireless, the antithesis of a teenager Shattuck hears shrieking on the side of a mountain that she is \'Not. Having. Fun.\' And there’s the point. It’s not that life is without its agonies. It’s the sweetness in the sorrow that is captured in this writing, along with the natural world’s endless invitation to solace.
Dubravka Ugresic, trans. by Ellen Elias-Bursać
RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewA major literary voice in Europe, Ugresic brings deep personal insight into the grinding despair and destructive nationalism of post-communist societies, often writing with lively, ironic flair keenly translated by Elias-Bursac. Do Lenin’s mummy, Adele and Croatian unemployment have any business being in the same essay together? In this book, yes. Gladly ... Today, it is striking to read about post-Soviet Europe and recognize ourselves, including the creepy sense of Russia’s unchecked influence in our struggles. Ugresic’s warning is unvarnished.
PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewHarlan and her family moved 17 times while she was a child, following her father’s work as an engineer across four continents. Impermanence defined her early life, and is a resonant ache in this linked-essay memoir. Her meditations on the meaning of places, houses and homes are rooted in her nomadic experience, if nomadism can be said to root anything ... Perhaps, these essays suggest, home is after all the place that is ours—whoever and wherever we find ourselves to be.
Ed. by Zoë Bossiere and Dinty W. Moore
RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewThere is no formula; these essays of 750 or fewer words include lists and \'found\' essays, lyric essays, researched essays, even graphic memoir. They work because they are efficient on the sentence level, cutting to the rhetorical nub without sacrificing their power to evoke ... The immersive effect of reading this anthology straight through is the opposite of a flash experience, and is also lovely, like rolling down a sidewalk of lit windows ... So much beauty, so much grief — the whole range of experience flashing by, leaving impressions as it passes.
RaveThe New York Times Book Review\"The Friend could almost carry a trigger warning for writers, teachers and readers, except that Nunez’s prose itself comforts us. Her confident and direct style uplifts — the music in her sentences, her deep and varied intelligence. She addresses important ideas unpretentiously and offers wisdom for any aspiring writer who, as the narrator fears, may never know this dear, intelligent friend — or this world that is dying. But is it dying? Perhaps. But with The Friend, Nunez provides evidence that, for now, it survives.\