Gifts come in many guises. One summer, Rebecca Solnit was bequeathed three boxes of ripening apricots, which lay, mountainous, on her bedroom floor - a windfall, a riddle, an emergency to be dealt with. The fruit came from a neglected tree that her mother, gradually succumbing to memory loss, could no longer tend to. From this unexpected inheritance came stories spun like those of Scheherazade, who used her gifts as a storyteller to change her fate and her listener's heart. As she looks back on the year of apricots and emergencies, Solnit weaves her own story into fairytales and the lives of others - the Marquis de Sade, Mary Shelley and Ernesto 'Che' Guevara. She tells of unexpected invitations and adventures, from a library of water in Iceland to the depths of the Grand Canyon. She tells of doctors and explorers, monsters and moths. She tells of warmth and coldness, of making art and re-making the self.
'This is no ordinary memoir. It is an extraordinary piece of work in which the personal and philosophical meet. Solnit mind is dizzyingly expansive, making poetic and sometimes less obvious connections between influences and experiences.' -- Irish Times
'A powerfully insightful and moving memoir that is also a mediation on travel, storytelling, illness and - perhaps above all - empathy. Fittingly for a book about the power of storytelling, Solnit is a terrific practitioner of the art.' -- Book of the Week, Lady
'Solnit explores love and loss, warmth and coldness, the making of art and the remaking of the self - her distinctive, dense and at times stunning, storytelling hacks a path through the creative landscape, delving into what it is that makes us - and what it is that can ultimately break us, too.' -- We Love This Book
'A rather eccentric set of essays... held together by such beautiful and sublime prose.' --'Readers best books of 2013', Guardian
'Solnit explores love and loss, warmth and coldness, the making of art and the remaking of the self - her distinctive, dense and at times stunning, storytelling hacks a path through the creative landscape, delving into what it is that makes us - and what it is that can ultimately break us, too. -- We Love This Book
'This is narrative as jazz improv, each refrain exploring a new melody or theme. Yet familiar strains recur again and again. Metaphors abound, and Solnit seems to believe that all of life could be looked at as an allegory to be deciphered' --Craille Maguire Gillies, Guardian
'An inspired reverie… It is peculiar and capacious, voracious in its range of allusion. The Faraway Nearby is a finely wrought and eloquent manifesto for hearing stories - and making them up' --Paperback review, Marina Warner, Guardian
'Provocative and extremely thought-provoking... it inspires nothing short of awe' -- --Irish Examiner
About the Author
Rebecca Solnit is author of, among other books, Men Explain Things to Me, Wanderlust, A Field Guide to Getting Lost, the NBCC award-winning River of Shadows and A Paradise Built In Hell. A contributing editor to Harper's, she writes regularly for the London Review of Books and the Los Angeles Times. She lives in San Francisco.