From Publishers Weekly
We learn in this fascinating collection of essays and interviews that P.L. Travers, the British creator of Mary Poppins, bristled when asked about dates and places and influences because she knew that banal facts could never convey her sense of living in the midst of a great mystery. Offering only the barest sketch of her outer life (Travers was born in Australia and became a student of the mystic G.I. Gurdjieff, W.B. Yeats and others), this work celebrates Travers as an oracle of insights and connections that came to her because she had mastered the art and discipline of opening up to reality. Draper, former editor of Parabola magazine (which Travers helped found), and Koralek, an English children's author and friend of Travers's, present a Travers who is not the sum of her biographical parts but a soul in question, a pilgrim on an ever-deepening journey toward an unknown home. "Perhaps we are looking for miracles," wrote Travers. "Most certainly we are looking for meaning. We want the fox not to eat the hare, we want the opposites reconciled." Not every piece here shines. Reminiscences by Jim George and Paul Jordan-Smith come off as self-aggrandizing rather than illuminating. The best entries, however, including interviews by Jonathan Cott and Sir Laurens Van der Post, and essays by Martha Heyneman and others, explore the work and mind of a woman who was seeking that place of profound connection and reconciliation we read about in fairy tales, "where the fox and the hare say goodnight to each other." This is an unusual, rewarding volume. (Dec.)
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