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High Tide in Tucson


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In High Tide in Tucson, Barbara Kingsolver explores her trademark themes of family, community and the natural world with the eyes of a scientist and the vision of a poet.

About the Author

Barbara Kingsolver's thirteen books of fiction, poetry and non-fiction include the novels The Bean Trees and the international bestseller The Poisonwood Bible which, amongst other accolades, won the 2005 Penguin/Orange Reading Group Book of the Year award. Her most recent novel The Lacuna, won the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2010.


YA‘Displaying a diverse background and multiple interests, Kingsolver has written about subjects as varied as the biological clock of hermit crabs, tourist wanderings in Benin, and visiting an obsolete Titan missile site. The recurring themes here are the wonder and excitement of parenting; the respect for all creatures, religions, and points of view; and the importance of the natural world in our lives. She weaves these themes throughout her essays and presents readers with a vision of beliefs too often undervalued in our modern world. The author, a skilled observer of both people and nature, claims ``to want to know and to write, about the places where disparate points of view rub together‘the spaces between.'' These essays are her attempts to open the doors for her readers to see into those spaces.‘Penny Stevens, Fairfax County Public Library, VA

Twenty-five essays from the author of Pigs in Heaven (LJ 6/15/93) grace this collection; some have been previously published, and all have been revised for this book. The title essay uses the metaphor of a hermit crab displaced from the Bahamas to Tucson to express an analogous situation in the author's life; this creature reappears in the final essay, "Reprise," representing the cyclic and rhythmic nature of life. In between, there are musings on life in the desert, feral pigs, libraries, fidelity, childrearing, and the like, all written with a keen sensitivity to Kingsolver's surroundings and often bringing an unusual perspective on seemingly mundane subjects. One can skip around or read the pieces consecutively. Essential for humanities collections in public and academic libraries.-Janice Braun, Mills Coll., Oakland, Cal.

Novelist Kingsolver (Pigs in Heaven) is not one to let her miscellany stagnate; she has revised or expanded many of the 25 essays included here, most of which have previously been published, and yes, there are thematic links in her view of family, writing, politics and places. The strongest link is Kingsolver's wise and spirited voice, animated by poetic and precise language. A Kentucky transplant to Arizona, Kingsolver recounts the triumph and pathos of her return home as a novelist; she also delights in recollecting her role in the notorious Rock Bottom Remainders, the band of writers famous for their ABA performances. ``Raising children is a patient alchemy,'' she declares; indeed, her self-imposed exile during the Gulf War led her to Spain's Canary Islands and an atmosphere of much greater affection for kids. Reports from Benin and Hawaii, even her aquarium, show the author to be a curious and sensitive observer. Most telling perhaps are Kingsolver's reflections on her mission: because it aims to convey truths we know but can't feel, ``[g]ood art is political, whether it means to be or not.'' Illustrations. Literary Guild alternate. (Oct.)

"Kingsolver's essays should be savored like quiet afternoons with a friend.... [She] speaks in a language rich with music and replete with good sense.""--New York Times Book Review""A delightful, challenging, and wonderfully informative book." "--San Francisco Chronicle""The acclaimed novelist's extraordinary powers of observations and understanding of character serve her beautifully in this collection of essays." "--Entertainment Weekly""Ms. Kingsolver possesses the rare ability to see the natural world with the keenness of both the poet and the naturalist." "--Washington Times""A book full of discoveries.""--Cleveland Plain Dealer""Whether cultural, personal, or theoretical, Kingsolver's nonfiction is a delight.""--Seattle Times""Brilliant...lucid, well thought-out, and remarkably sensitive. Kingsolver's power will linger long after you've finished "High Tide in Tucson.""--Kansas City Star""Clever...magical...beautifully crafted. Kingsolver spins you around the philosophic world a dozen times.""--Milwaukee Sentinel"

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