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Readers familiar with Barbara Kingsolver will find that Small Wonder, a collection of 23 essays, shows the same sensitivity and thoughtfulness, the same rich knowledge of and love for the natural world, as her spellbinding novels. In "Knowing Our Place," she describes the two places in which she writes: a tin-roof cabin in Appalachia and her home in the Tucson desert. In "Setting Free the Crabs," she uses her daughter's decision not to take home a beautiful (and occupied) red conch shell from a Mexican beach to illustrate our own need to give up our sense of ownership of the earth, to resist "the hunger to possess all things bright and beautiful." Many of these pieces, like the lovely title essay, were written (or rewritten) in response to the events of September 11, which threw into relief the growing social and economic inequities that are so little remarked on in the American media. These are political essays, although Kingsolver is not a natural rhetorician; her prose is too supple and inclusive. She is more inclined to follow the turns of her mind, like water in a curving stream bed, than to hammer home a point or two. But she has a rare gift for apt allusion (from sources as wide-ranging as Robert Frost to Beanie Babies) and for the elegant use of facts and figures. And she is highly quotable. It is easy to imagine the speechwriters and activists of the next 10 years dipping into Small Wonder for inspiration and the perfect phrase. --Regina Marler
This book of essays by Kingsolver (The Poisonwood Bible, etc.) is like a visit from a cherished old friend. Conversation ranges from what Kingsolver ate on a trip to Japan to wonder over a news story about a she-bear who suckled a lost child to how it feels to be an American idealist living in a post-September 11 world. She tackles some sticky issues, among them the question of who is entitled to wave the American flag and why, and some possible reasons why our nation has been targeted for terror by angry fundamentalists and what we can do to ease our anxiety over the new reality while respecting the rest of planet Earth's inhabitants. Kingsolver has strong opinions, but has a gift for explaining what she thinks and how she arrived at her conclusions in a way that gives readers plenty of room to disagree comfortably. But Kingsolver's essays also reward her readers in other ways. As she puts it herself in "What Good Is a Story": "We are nothing if we can't respect our readers." Respect for the intelligence of her audience is apparent everywhere in this outstanding collection. Illus.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
There's nothing better than a book by Kingsolver. A wonderful collection of essays.Published 6 months ago by laura hely
One of my favorite books ever. These are great essays that stimulate discussion. My favorites include "And the Flag Was Still There" and "A Letter to My Mother".Published 8 months ago by Q wave
Excellent set of contemporary essays by an accomplished, skilled writer and wonderful storyteller. This book is an extremely engaging set of interrelated stories relevent to our... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Thomas French
This is a gorgeous collection of essays by a versatile author. It moved me deeply when it didn't make me smile. Read morePublished 13 months ago by CritiCal
This book is full of wisdom and insight about us, our world and our participation in it. Our participation is demonstrated as both constructive and destructive. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Karen J Wehrman
I enjoyed this because of her compassionate insights into our crazy world, and the greed that seems to drive much of what is done. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Mary Ann Smith