From Publishers Weekly
Books concerning spiritual awakening after a near-death experience tend naturally to be self-centered, and Nepo's book is no exception. The 53-year-old writer and motivational speaker (The Book of Awakening) suffered from cancer, which he survived with the help of his wife of 20 years. While undergoing treatment, he refused to allow panic to influence his decisions, thus avoiding some radical and dangerous procedures, which threatened his life almost as much as the disease itself. In this memoir, the poet elaborates upon his difficult journey, offering sage advice gleaned from incidental experiences and the work of other spiritual leaders. Clearly, Nepo is a sensitive observer, but his prose tends toward gauzy, inflated metaphors and long, self-flattering passages. Remembering the time a dentist gave him a root canal, for example, Nepo writes, "Though his eyes were intent on the thin canals inside my tooth, I saw behind his focus to his soft place. It was there that we'd known each other deeply, though we'd never met." Elsewhere, he instructs readers that, "like a stone rippling in a lake, the heart of our being dropped softly into any moment will ripple us into the mystery of everything," and declares, "I was born to say what my father couldn't, to face what he's turned from." The transformational saga of Nepo's cancer treatment does indeed highlight the wonders of life and human relations, but Nepo's convoluted writing doesn't do justice to his painful, joyful reality.
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“Once again, Mark Nepo draws us to the heart of what matters. He illuminates love with the light of his own understanding.” —Marianne Williamson
“The Exquisite Risk
is a celebration of an honest life, lived on purpose. Mark Nepo’s words, like water on a stone, gently but firmly score a path for us to follow, a path that leads us into the place of remembering what a life is for; an invitation to tell the truth, remain close to the earth, and love well. What, more than this, can we ever ask of a book as our companion?” —Wayne Muller, author of Learning to Pray
, and How, Then, Shall We Live?
“Every page of The Exquisite Risk
is alive with Mark’s compassion, rich with his soulfulness. If you are looking for one of those rare books that offer companionship on the journey, you will find none better than this.” —Parker J. Palmer, author of A Hidden Wholeness
, The Courage to Teach
, and Let Your Life Speak
“An inspiration . . . The Exquisite Risk
affirms that there are essentially two responses to life—a risky opening up to love and a controlling move into success and isolation. The direct reporting of Mark Nepo’s epiphanies moves and flows in a wonderful sequencing of revelations that deepen and fill out as we read. . . . An exquisite gift.”—Robert Inchausti, author of The Ignorant Perfection of Ordinary PeopleFrom the Hardcover edition.