Exciting news – Edward Hoagland’s Sex and the River Styx has been chosen by Amazon.com as one of the best books of the month for February 2011! Take a look at editor Tom Nissley’s review below, and read Amazon’s announcement here.
In recent years, the best reason to have a Harper’s subscription has been the appearance, once every year or two, of a long and life-giving essay by Edward Hoagland. Whatever topic they hang themselves on – political dissent, the circus (where Hoagland spent two memorable young summers), sex, aging, nature – they circle around and wander through all of the above, each a memoir in miniature, each a guide to life as lived in its seventh and now eighth decades. Hoagland’s best known as a nature writer and has been called “the Thoreau of our time,” but his tolerant and curious affection for human nature too makes him closer to Thoreau’s friend and landlord, Emerson. In any case, his sentences sing like theirs: elegant and aphoristic, but chunky with thought and image, leaping and pausing like a line from Monk’s piano. As you might guess from the title, the essays in Sex and the River Styx, his first new collection in a decade, are both late and lively. Hoagland is far sadder about the accelerating destruction of the earth’s bounty and variety than he is about his own decline; while he angrily fights the former, he happily accepts the past tense in talking about ways he once lived but won’t again. He’s grown wise in the best way: he’s learned some things in his time, none more than how little he knows. -Tom NissleyRecommended for fans of How to Live: A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer by Sarah Bakewell and Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard.
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