This remarkable book of essays, which critics liken to a set of Russian nested dolls, are interconnected musings on many topics–maternal love, child abandonment, memory loss, illness, fairytales, labyrinths, Buddhism, the Arctic, and of all things, apricots.
Solnit has a poetic turn-of-phrase which makes these essays extremely enjoyable. Scallops and sea urchins dragged from the ocean floor are “bright like internal organs laid bare by surgery or butchery.”
In some ways, these essays are show how interconnected everyone’s lives–their life stories–are. In the end, though, these essays are also a deeply moving memoir of one particular woman’s life–Solnit’s.
In her personal essays, Solnit divulges her difficult relationship with her mother. Strained as a child and young adult, the mother daughter bond grows stronger as Solnit cares for her mother’s medical needs.
Solnit reveals her own narrow brush with death–breast cancer–and her courageous attempt to start anew.