Dear Sound of Footstep: Essays

Dear Sound of Footstep: Essays

by Ashley Butler
     
 

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In her daring essay collection Dear Sound of Footstep, author Ashley Butler engages the reader in an exploration of her mother's death and an estranged paternal relationship. As illusions of a celestial umbrella slowly disappear, she begins a search for answers within the infinite. The candid narrative evolves into a stunning, abstract deconstruction of time

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Overview

In her daring essay collection Dear Sound of Footstep, author Ashley Butler engages the reader in an exploration of her mother's death and an estranged paternal relationship. As illusions of a celestial umbrella slowly disappear, she begins a search for answers within the infinite. The candid narrative evolves into a stunning, abstract deconstruction of time and space, piloting the reader precariously close to the unanswered question, "Why are we here?" Among the subjects she touches on: the fastest man on earth, wind farms and tunnels, and the anechoic (without echo) chamber at Harvard University. We hear about some of history's oddest seekers of spiritual and scientific knowledge: Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, the father of cosmonautics; Yves Klein, the "artist of space"; Russian futurist Nikolai Federov; and Harry Houdini, hanging headfirst over a crowd in Times Square. The essays are a blend of conventional narrative, aphorism (“The aphorism is a form of eternity,” said Nietzsche), lyrical imagery, and language, with insights like, "A voice begins with the thought that must be set apart from a body." Butler's collection has a true magic of its own, at times both brutal and gorgeous, but always coming back to an empathy of spirit and intelligence far beyond Butler's years.

Ashley Butler was born and raised in Virginia. She has a BA from Columbia University and an MFA from the University of Iowa. Her work has appeared in Ninth Letter,jubilat, Gulf Coast, Creative Nonfiction, and POOL. She lives in Texas.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This prose collection from Virginia-born newcomer Butler is haunted by her emaciated, cancer-ridden mother, confined to her Richmond, Vir. Hospital bed, even while the author embarks on wild flights of escapist fancy. Alternating descriptions of physical disintegration with fascination over flight and space, Butler names "Sea Vixen Heart Gloster Javelin" for the first postwar aircrafts to dazzle audiences with aviation techniques-but which also produced fatal, breathtaking accidents. As her mother deals with her fatal illness over the course of years, Butler and her sister attend high school (where Butler is often reprimanded for being "in the clouds"), grow estranged from their absentee father, and venture into the world outside. Much of the work has the immediacy of notebook entries, such as Butler's poignant return to her childhood beach house in "Stingray Point"; the affecting, scattershot anecdotes of "The Book of Concealed Hearts"; and the title story's meditation on spatial relationships and illusion, which enlists quotes from forward-thinkers like Goethe and Yves Klein. Butler's slapdash use of punctuation effectively bolsters the not-unpleasant feeling of distortion, disorientation and weightlessness that pervades these pieces.
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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781932511758
Publisher:
Sarabande Books
Publication date:
10/01/2009
Pages:
128
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.50(d)

Meet the Author

Ashley Butler was born and raised in Virginia. She has a BA from Columbia University and an MFA from the University of Iowa. Her work has appeared in Ninth Letter, jubilat, Gulf Coast, Creative Nonfiction and POOL. She lives in Texas.

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