When Oliver Sacks was twelve years old, a perceptive schoolmaster wrote in his report: "Sacks will go far, if he does not go too far." It is now abundantly clear that Sacks has never stopped going.
Rebecca Solnit, The Faraway Nearby
Rebecca Solnit (Infinite City: San Francisco Atlas) is an award-winning author (and one of our favorites) whose distinctive voice has earned her much praise; the San Francisco Chronicle described her as “who Susan Sontag might have become if Sontag had never forsaken California for Manhattan.” Her exquisite new book is set in motion with a gift of one hundred pounds of ripening apricots, which come from a neglected tree her mother could no longer attend to. The story of the fruit serves as a gateway for Solnit to relate intimate details about her own life, from the history of her complicated and tempestuous relationship with her mother, now suffering from memory loss, to an unexpected invitation to visit Iceland, to her own medical emergency.
The Faraway Nearby serves as an exploration of the way we make our lives out of stories, the book is a powerful call to reinvent memoir. Solnit does so by redefining the self, braiding together a story that is as much about how the self extends into the world through empathy and imagination and the stories that sustained her as it is about her own life during a difficult year.
We are honored to be able to welcome Ms. Solnit to Bookshop Santa Cruz for this reading, signing, and Q&A.
“The Faraway Nearby is a masterpiece, about nothing less than the story (the myth, the fairy tale) we are living, about how we can step out of that story to become who we are, who we are meant to be. ‘The self is also a creation, the principal work of your life, the crafting of which makes everyone an artist,’ says Solnit, and she is one of the few writers alive able to be our guide in this ‘unfinished work of becoming.’ This book is a gift—it will make your life larger.” —Nick Flynn
Photo courtesy of Jim Herrington