2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Memoir as the mismeasure of the man,
This review is from: All the Strange Hours: The Excavation of a Life (Paperback)
Loren Eiseley is my greatest inspiration as a science-nature writer. I have posted 5-star Amazon reviews for his The Immense Journey: An Imaginative Naturalist Explores the Mysteries of Man and Nature and The Firmament of Time -- and for a compendium of his essays, The Star Thrower.
Please read any of those books before you read this one. Indeed, read "All the Strange Hours" only if you are seeking yet another sad example of (a) how the great contributors to science and the arts may be far from great individuals, and (b) why memoir so often detracts from an otherwise resounding legacy.
In "All the Strange Hours" you will catch glimpses of a nature mystic and supreme essayist, but only glimpses. What you will discover (page after page) is a bitter man who even as an elder has not grasped that a failure to forgive harms not the wrongdoer but oneself.
Then, again, perhaps the barrage of surly anecdotes against human transgressions long past (some of which strike this reader as outright trivial) lends crucial insight into why this "man in love with time" and supreme student of the history of evolutionary thought would achieve lasting greatness by upending the saccharine genre of nature writing and elevating the dark side of nature as worthy not only of contemplation but as the most dependable source of mystical insight.
Would that Eiseley could have loved the imperfect humans who wandered (mostly unbidden) into his life, just as he loved the pocked and predated realm of all that is nonhuman!
NOTE: This review was written by Michael Dowd's wife, science writer Connie Barlow.
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Initial post: Mar 22, 2014 1:00:17 PM PDT
J Kragt says:
Thanks you for your comments. They are not the majority view, but you have expressed something that sounds true and well-thought through.
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