"What a strange and unexpected treasure chest this is, filled with all manner of quirky revelations, all about the mundane sublime and the ineffable extraordinary. Most extraordinary of all, perhaps, through, is the haunting perfection, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph, of the writing itself.Read more...
"What a strange and unexpected treasure chest this is, filled with all manner of quirky revelations, all about the mundane sublime and the ineffable extraordinary. Most extraordinary of all, perhaps, through, is the haunting perfection, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph, of the writing itself. Who is this Angela Pelster and where has she been all our lives?"-Lawrence Weschler
Angela Pelster's startling essay collection charts the world's history through its trees: through roots in the ground, rings across wood, and inevitable decay. These sharp and tender essays move from her childhood in rural Canada surrounded by skinny poplar trees in her backyard to a desert in Niger, where the "Loneliest Tree in the World" once grew. A squirrel's decomposing body below a towering maple prompts a discussion of the science of rot, as well as a metaphor for the ways in which nature programs us to consume ourselves. Beautiful, deeply thoughtful, and wholly original, Limber valiantly asks what it means to sustain life on this planet we've inherited.
Angela Pelster's essays have appeared in Granta, the Gettysburg Review, Seneca Review, the Globe and Mail, Relief Magazine, and others. Her children's novel The Curious Adventures of India Sophia won the Golden Eagle Children's Choice award in 2006. She has an MFA from the University of Iowa's nonfiction writing program and lives with her family in Baltimore, Maryland, where she teaches at Towson University.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-12-23
- Reviewer: Staff
Pelster's essay collection, her second book after the children's novel, The Curious Adventures of India Sophia, proves nimble and curious, with essays on subjects such as: trees, mortality, decay, and history. Whether Pelster is talking about an old mining town buried alive, a tree that belonged only to itself, or a mother buried with her children in the desert, her prose invites the reader to pause and wonder. Some essays, such as "By Way of the Beginning," "Temple," and "Rot," combine moments both mundane and sublime: the memory of beliefs we wish we'd never had, raking leaves, and caterpillars in the summer. Pelster questions our mortality, how we define ourselves, and faith; and has fun doing so. Though the collection contains hits and misses, the highlight, "How Trees Came to Be in the World," feels like an atom's-eye view of evolution. The book is sure to appeal to those who are interested in nature writing and, with its mystical feel—"chart the world's history through its trees"—to fans of creative nonfiction as well. (Apr.)