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Finding Beauty in a Broken World Paperback – October 6, 2009
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She attempts something similar here, using brutal and inhumane attempts to kill off the prairie dogs of the plains and high desert as a counterpoint to the heinous war between Tutsis and Hutus in Rwanda, which she visits after the media have moved on. The image she uses to portray life in the global 21st century is of mosaics, which she studied in Italy and takes with her to Africa. This work is less successful than Refuge, I think, because the magnitude of suffering she conveys after speaking with survivors of the Rwandan genocide is so overpowering. Another writer might have limited a book to that single topic, but Williams, a trained naturalist, is more ambitious; she wants to draw us into the interdependent web of life that covers the planet.
Cancer takes another of Williams' family members here, but the loss is balanced by a blessing that Williams and her husband, Brooke, thought they had foregone when they elected not to have children. (No, she didn't adopt a baby like some people with higher profiles.) Even if she goes on a bit too long about those cute prairie dogs (I skipped 20 pages), she makes the point eloquently that all life is fragile and that we must pay close attention to its value.
You might get the impression from reviews that Williams is sentimental. Quite the opposite, her observations of science and of life's brutality lend her work the edge that must have frightened the superintendent of Bryce Canyon into saying she wasn't welcome there. She went anyway, and we should be glad she's about in the world.
The middle section about the prairy dogs I found interesting for a while (I love those little creatures), then became utterly bored. I saw the picture but was finished. I could not understand the style. I didn't bother completing it.
Rwanda was an experience that I find doubtful for anyone to forget. Again: detail for feelings, society and societal relationships were awe-inspiring. It's history brought tears to my eyes many times. The beauty of the mosaic memorial, intertwined with the mosaics of the Rwandan people's healing lives was also healing to me. Incredible in so many aspects.
Then I realized I had to go back to the little guys out west. It was then that I understood the writing style (somewhat scientific as opposed to narrative). The picture is only too clear, and so fitting in the setting of the book.
Bravo, Terry. I feel privileged to have become part of that world. I am also going to Ravenna to take the class! It will have yet a different meaning!
Finding Beauty in a Broken World highlights the interstices between pieces of glass, the filling that cements life experiences together into one work of art. Williams notices first the ornate, but then the austere elements of a world she calls broken, and in doing so, turns the imperfections from dull and dreary to glistening and gleaming. Finding Beauty in a Broken World is a perspective-changing work of art you won't want to miss.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is Terry Tempest Williams' most challenging book I've read so far. She takes a very personal narrative on global issues, relating the art of mosaics, the behavior of prairie... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Kathryn S.
OK, this woman is a prize winning author. I get it. She writes very well, with an interesting style that flows. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Austin reader
She writes with deep feeling for all that is broken and at the same time lights a beacon of hope. I am grateful for her.Published 9 months ago by H. Elkington
Finding Beauty in a Broken World provides a wonderful snapshot of the best and worst of life on Earth. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Annette Lamb
Terry has the rare ability to see her life through series of connected, relatable events. She puts small examples into grand ideas, and makes those pertinent to her readers. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Matt Beatty
Terry Tempest Williams shows enormous fearlessness & heartfullness in studying the prairie dogs and being a strong environmental advocate for this loveable endangered species, and... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Subhana Barzaghi
not a read from front to back book, but a pick up and read. good to discuss with book clubPublished on August 16, 2013 by carol townsend