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Small Wonder: Essays


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About the Author

Barbara Kingsolver is the author of nine bestselling works of fiction, including the novels, Flight Behavior, The Lacuna, The Poisonwood Bible, Animal Dreams, and The Bean Trees, as well as books of poetry, essays, and creative nonfiction. Her work of narrative nonfiction is the enormously influential bestseller Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life. Kingsolver's work has been translated into more than twenty languages and has earned literary awards and a devoted readership at home and abroad. She was awarded the National Humanities Medal, our country's highest honor for service through the arts, as well as the prestigious Dayton Literary Peace Prize for her body of work. She lives with her family on a farm in southern Appalachia.


Don't be misled by the foreword and opening subject in novelist and essayist Kingsolver's new collection: this work is not all about our continuing anguish over September ll. Some of the essays do concern themselves with that fateful day and her reactions to it, but most are pieces on varied subjects written since her 1995 collection High Tide in Tucson. Some have been published before, like the three little gems Kingsolver co-wrote with her husband, Steven Hopp. The topics range from television to the homeless, Columbine to problems of writing about sex, poetry to the meaning of the flag. Throughout, Kingsolver seamlessly combines the personal and the political. Thus, an essay about her daughter Lily's chickens comments on world agriculture; watching a hummingbird build its nest becomes a springboard for informed and impassioned thinking about evolution and genetic engineering. Recommended for most collections in both academic and public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 1/02.] Mary Paumier Jones, Westminster P.L., CO Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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. (Apr. 20) Forecast: Kingsolver's name means bestseller potential, possibly aided by the possibility of revisiting the controversy she has aroused with her response to September 11. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

"This book of essays by Barbara Kingsolver is like a visit from a cherished old friend."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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