Monthly Archives: February 2013

When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice by Terry Tempest Williams

When Women Were BirdsWHEN WOMEN WERE BIRDS: Fifty-four Variations on Voice
Terry Tempest Williams
Picador / $15.00 / 256 pages
On Sale: February 26, 2013
Memoir

For review copies (US and Canada only), or to schedule an interview with Terry Tempest Williams, please email gabrielle.gantz [at] picadorusa.com

PRAISE FOR WHEN WOMEN WERE BIRDS
“The writing of Terry Tempest Williams is brilliant, meditative, and full of surprises, wisdom, and wonder. She’s one of those writers who changes peoples’ lives by encouraging attention and a slow, patient awakening.”—Anne Lamott, author of Imperfect Birds

“Williams displays a Whitmanesque embrace of the world and its contradictions…As the pages accumulate, her voice grows in majesty and power until it become a full-fledged aria.”San Francisco Chronicle

“Williams narrates stories that range wide and run deep . . . Here, readers get a Terry Tempest Williams who is at the top of her game, the master of her craft . . . a gift from a writer who knows how to split the world open.”—Cheryl Strayed, Orion

“This poetic memoir continues the work Williams began in Refuge….Williams explores her mother’s identity—woman, wife, mother, and Mormon—as she continues to honor her memory….A lyrical and elliptical meditation on women, nature, family, and history.”—The Boston Globe

“Williams is the kind of writer who makes a reader feel that [her] voice might also, one day, be heard….She cancels out isolation: Connections are woven as you sit in your chair readingbetween you and the place you live, between you and other readers, you and the writer. Without knowing how it happened, your sense of home is deepened.”Susan Salter Reynolds, The Daily Beast

ABOUT WHEN WOMEN WERE BIRDS
“I am leaving you all my journals, but you must promise me you won’t look at them until after I’m gone.” This is what Terry Tempest Williams’s mother, the matriarch of a large Mormon clan in northern Utah, told her a week before she died. It was a shock to Williams to discover that her mother had kept journals. But not as much of a shock to discover that the three shelves of journals were all blank.

In WHEN WOMEN WERE BIRDS: Fifty-four Variations on Voice (Picador / On Sale: February 26, 2013 / ISBN: 978-1-250-02411-4 / $15.00), Williams recounts memories of her mother, ponders her own Mormon faith, and contemplates the notion of absence in art and in our world. WHEN WOMEN WERE BIRDS is a carefully crafted kaleidoscope that keeps turning around the question: What does it mean to have a voice?

ABOUT TERRY TEMPEST WILLIAMS
TERRY TEMPEST WILLIAMS
is the author of fourteen books, including Refuge, Leap, The Open Space of Democracy, and most recently, Finding Beauty in a Broken World. The recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship and a Lannan Literary Fellowship in creative nonfiction, she divides her time between Castle Valley, Utah, and Moose, Wyoming.

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Filed under Memoir

The Guardians: An Elegy for a Friend by Sarah Manguso

The GuardiansThe Guardians: An Elegy for a Friend
Sarah Manguso
Picador / $15.00 / 128 pages
On Sale: March 5, 2013
Memoir / Health / Mental Health

For review copies (US and Canada only), or to schedule an interview with Sarah Manguso, please email gabrielle.gantz [at] picadorusa.com

PRAISE FOR THE GUARDIANS
“Memoirs about grief often concern a relative or partner, but Manguso’s offers a revealing perspective on simple friendship and on a formative period of early adulthood when choices are made and selfhood solidifies.”—The New Yorker

“‘Nobody understands how I feel,’ we often think (mistakenly) in times of loss. But Manguso not only understands, she can articulate it in the precisest and most unexpected of images—an unrelated car accident, a bowl of Italian candies, a swim in the ocean. What results is a memoir that reveals not the just intimacies of the writer’s life, but of your own. Most moving is that The Guardians covers a subject so rarely recognized in our society, the grief from the death of a friend.”—Leigh Newman, Oprah.com, “Book of the Week”

“Sarah Manguso’s The Guardians goes to hell and back . . . The book majors in bone-on-bone rawness, exposed nerve endings . . . With The Guardians, I did something I do when I love a book: start covering my mouth when I read; this is very pure and elemental, and I wanted nothing coming between me and the page.”—David Shields, Los Angeles Review of Books

“A bittersweet elegy to a friend who ‘eloped’ from a locked psychiatric ward . . . [Manguso] explores the extent to which we are our friends’ guardians and, in outliving them, the guardians of their memory . . . Manguso’s writing manages, in carefully honed bursts of pointed, poetic observation, to transcend the darkness and turn it into something beautiful. The results are also deeply instructive, not in the manner we’ve come to fatuously call “self-help” but in the way that good literature expands and illuminates our realm of experience.”—Heller McAlpin, Barnes and Noble Review

“Shortly after returning home from a fellowship year in Rome, poet and memoirist Sarah Manguso received word that her old college friend Harris had fled a psychiatric hospital and jumped in front of a train. In The Guardians: An Elegy, the writer explores, in prose that singes with precision and honesty, the many ambiguities surrounding the tragedy . . . A long friendship is a crucial orientation point, and Manguso captures with great delicacy the spinning compass of her grief, and its accompanying jumble of anger, disappointments, corrupted memories—and love.”—Megan O’Grady, Vogue

“Packs an emotional wallop into small, patterned movements.”—The A.V. Club

“In The Guardians, Sarah Manguso holds up two kinds of love: the love for someone willfully at one’s side (the new husband) and the love for someone willfully gone (the dear friend, a suicide). The limitations and complexities of romantic love played out in the present are here haunted on all sides by the simple expansiveness of platonic love, especially as seen through the lens of mourning. The living cannot compete with the dead. But marriage has its rights before any friendship. The mystery of where Manguso’s heart will land propels us through this vivid meditation.”—Sheila Heti, author of How Should a Person Be?

“Sarah Manguso’s is a disarming and yet infectiously charming style, one that mixes intimate personal reflection with curiously distanced observations of the world. What this ends up feeling like while reading The Guardians is a tension that’s both inviting and simultaneously alienating, a wounded sort of intellect that wants to protect and yet expose itself to the reader. It’s a beautifully sad meditation—as exhilarating as it is devastating.”—John D’Agata, author of About a Mountain

“Manguso is a deliberate and exact stylist….At her best, she has some of Didion’s rhythms, her watchfulness and remove, her way of drawing attention to her own fragility….A fiercely personal book.”—The Cleveland Plain Dealer

ABOUT THE GUARDIANS
“An unidentified white man was struck and instantly killed by a Metro-North train last night,” reported the July 24, 2008, edition of the Riverdale Press. This man was named Harris, and The Guardians—written in the years after he escaped from a psychiatric hospital and ended his life—is Sarah Manguso’s heartbreaking elegy.

Harris was a man who “played music, wrote software, wrote music, learned to drive, went to college, went to bed with girls.” In The Guardians, Manguso grieves not for family or for a lover, but for a best friend. With startling humor and candor, she paints a portrait of a friendship between a man and a woman—in all its unexpected detail—and shows that love and grief do not always take the shapes we expect them to.

ABOUT SARAH MANGUSO
Sarah Manguso is the author of a memoir, The Two Kinds of Decay; two books of poetry, Siste Viator and The Captain Lands in Paradise; and a short-story collection, Hard to Admit and Harder to Escape.

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Filed under Health, Memoir

Beautiful Souls: The Courage and Conscience of Ordinary People in Extraordinary Times by Eyal Press

Beautiful SoulsBeautiful Souls: The Courage and Conscience of Ordinary People in Extraordinary Times
Eyal Press
Picador / $15.00 / 208 pages
On Sale: February 5, 2013
Political Science

For review copies (US and Canada only), or to schedule an interview with Eyal, please email gabrielle.gantz [at] picadorusa.com

 

A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice

PRAISE FOR BEAUTIFUL SOULS
“A hymn to the mystery of disobedience…What makes you eager to push this book into the hands of the next person you meet are the small, still moments, epics captured in miniature. … Essential.”—The New York Times

“Evocative…A valentine to the human spirit.”—The Wall Street Journal

“On stage and in the pulpit, moral dilemmas of this kind tend to have a black-and-white clarity. Working from life, Mr. Press brings out the grays….Rich in personal, circumstantial details that analytical thinkers in search of clear principles may overlook.”—The Economist

“Press examines his subjects carefully….In some ways Beautiful Souls is a thoughtful gesture of support. That might sound like a small thing, but it’s not. Compassion never is.”—The New York Times Book Review

“Provides rich, provocative narratives of moral choice…Press makes us wonder if we would have the strength to act against the crowd, and in so doing spread a bit of light in our own dark times.”—The Washington Post

“Fantastic…A brilliant meditation on [the] very difficult decisions of conscience that people have to make…I just want to urge everybody, please read this book.”—The Nation

“A fascinating study in the better angels of our nature.”—George Packer, The New Yorker

ABOUT BEAUTIFUL SOULS
History has produced many specimens of the banality of evil, but what about its flip side, what impels ordinary people to defy the sway of authority and convention? Through these dramatic stories of unlikely resisters, Eyal Press’ Beautiful Souls shows that the boldest acts of dissent are often carried out not only by radicals seeking to overthrow the system but also by true believers who cling with unusual fierceness to their convictions. Drawing on groundbreaking research by moral psychologists and neuroscientists, this deeply reported work of narrative journalism examines the choices and dilemmas we all face when our principles collide with the loyalties we harbor and the duties we are expected to fulfill.

ABOUT EYAL PRESS
Eyal Press is an author and journalist based in New York. His work has appeared in the New York Review of Books, The New York Times Magazine, The Nation, The Raritan Review and numerous other publications. A 2011 Schwartz fellow at the New America Foundation, he is the author of Absolute Convictions, and a past recipient of the James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism.

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Eyal Press on Democracy Now!
Eyal Press on NPR Talk of the Nation

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Filed under Current Events / Politics, Politics, Sociology