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This is not a new McPhee reader, though surely a third such volume is merited, but rather a collection of the best of his funny and affecting personal essays, works that offer glimpses of McPhee as a willful, curious boy; a nervous rookie New Yorker staff writer; and a bemused and proud father and grandfather. The stellar title essay is a glorious curveball homage to his mother. McPhee also writes of canoeing and lacrosse. Does eating “eccentric food” count as an athletic endeavor? It does when McPhee lives off the land with Euell Gibbons. And certainly fact-checking as practiced at the New Yorker (the home for earlier versions of these delectable pieces), and described in “Checkpoints,” qualifies as the literary equivalent of an Olympic sport. “Season on the Chalk” is a quintessential McPhee essay––he is a game-changing master of the form––in which the roll and pitch of his sentences embody the topography of Europe’s strange and fabled chalk country. Whatever his subject, McPhee’s virtuoso and deeply engaging essays convey the profound pleasure of attending to the world. --Donna Seaman --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
“We marvel at the pains [McPhee] takes with structure, approaching his subject from oblique angles, slowly building tension, sometimes seeming to wander, but always propelling his narratives forward . . . In the age of blogging and tweeting, of writers’ near-constant self-promotion, McPhee is an imperative counterweight, a paragon of both sense and civility.” —Elizabeth Royte, The New York Times Book Review
“Reading McPhee’s lucid descriptions of [lacrosse], with its lightning pace and nuanced skill levels, one wonders why Americans spend so much time watching football . . . We’re fortunate McPhee has written as much—and as well—as he has. For readers who have always wanted a more personal glimpse, Silk Parachute should be floating your way.” —Tim McNulty, The Seattle Times
“How long the McPhee tradition will endure is anyone’s guess. But for now we have Silk Parachute, a testament to a kind of literary journalism that will, with any luck, have both its standards and its standard-bearer around for years to come.” —Danny Heitman, The Christian Science Monitor
The author has an encyclopedic mind and a gift for the English language that is truly humbling. Write on, please!Published 8 months ago by barbara restin
As always. John McPhee has never written a bad book or article. My favorite authorPublished 9 months ago by David G. Hope
Always a pleasure. How he entertains and informs is remarkable. No writer is better at weaving a whole cloth from so many divergent threads.Published 14 months ago by Bruce clark
Huge fan of McPhee so predisposed to like this. Especially enjoyed the title essay, "Silk Parachute," a memoir of McPhee's mother and his childhood that was at once both... Read morePublished 17 months ago by M. Land-Freshwater
The best McPhee yet. Some of his work is now assuming the role of a retrospective, which creates a sort of poignancy that adds flavor all its own. Read morePublished 20 months ago by atwood4242
Some of the best non-fiction writing in America! If you haven't read McPhee, you don't know what you're missing. He can make anything interesting.Published on September 20, 2013 by Arque
McPhee makes one look at life with renewed enthusiasm; and stimulates renewed eagerness to explore the intriguing world one lives in.Published on August 5, 2013 by Amazon Customer
Sorry, lost track of this book. John McPhee has been one of my favorite writers but some of these topics do not have extremely exciting resumes.Published on July 26, 2013 by Barbara Ann Ruth