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Falling into Place: An Intimate Geography of Home

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Falling into Place: An Intimate Geography of Home

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Hypnotically poetic.”
O, The Oprah Magazine

“Sharply observed and deeply pondered.”
Kirkus Reviews

“This book will be savored by those who relish reading beautifully written essays about natural history and environmental concerns, as well as by readers who enjoy memoirs.”
Library Journal

“Brings a fresh voice to time-honored subjects: the death of a loved one, the search for oneself.”
Massachusetts Review

Falling into Place shows a successful quest for elusive, hard-won goals, on natural territory.”
The Gay & Lesbian Review

“The perfect example of how the personal becomes global through familiar tropes.” 
Lambda Literary

“Listening for birds or following the riddle of a bear roaming the woods in winter; remembering a near drowning and the trace of her stranger-savior in spare asides; pursuing the nature of the 'natural' or calling us to meet her in wonder and in activism, author-naturalist Catherine Reid writes with an uncommonly enthralling acuity and grace. A major contribution to the re-vitalization of the essay and lyric nonfiction short form, Falling into Place creates groves of contemplation in a reactive world. Gerard Manley Hopkins. Rachel Carson. Catherine Reid. Like the precursors whose soundings gorgeously echo in her work, Falling into Place invites a new kind of listening.”
—Mary Cappello, author of Called Back, and Swallow

“In these beautifully written essays Catherine Reid combines her homing instincts with an astute awareness of the ramifications of global events. As she explores the way in which the local, in our time, must also be far-ranging, she also considers the inextricable links between the human and natural worlds. Falling Into Place is a deeply rewarding book marked by maturity of thought and lyric richness.”
—Jane Brox, author of Clearing Land: Legacies of the American Farm

Kirkus Reviews
An uneven collection of sharply observed and deeply pondered essays, mainly on the environment but informed by the author's perspective as a Quaker and a lesbian. "In their shapes and meanders, the personal essay and the long walk have much in common, most notably in their valuing of the journey over the destination," writes Reid (Creative Writing/Warren Wilson Coll.; Coyote: Seeking the Hunter in Our Midst, 2004), who invites readers to share some walks, most of them in nature generally and many of them involving birds specifically. She continues to observe that these two linked pursuits involve "a heightened attention," and most of these essays pay very close attention to detail, as the author finds significance in distinctions to which many observers might remain oblivious. She also makes connections between her solitary contemplation of nature and her relationships with those close to her, as when she writes after the death of her grandmother, "She and I may not have said much about the matters of our hearts but in the language of birds we shared plenty." Two essays rise above the rest. "Hitched, Massachusetts, 2004" seems deeply felt as well as pondered, as the author works her way through the ambivalence of becoming legally wed to her partner, "because there are lots of reasons besides fidelity and commitment why queers might want to marry and why doing so might cause palms to sweat." In "Wild Geese and Other Nostalgias," the author illuminates how love for birds might be bad for them, making it too easy for them to stay in one place and multiply, interrupting their natural migratory cycles. As a self-conscious writer and ardent environmentalist, Reid makes fine company for those who share her passions, yet there's little trace of humor, self-deprecating or otherwise, that might broaden her circle of readers.
Library Journal
Essayist Reid (creative nonfiction & environmental writing, Warren Wilson Coll.; Coyote: Seeking the Hunter in Our Midst) has penned a series of lyrical pieces celebrating her rural western Massachusetts home (she is there part time), embracing the woods, the ponds, and the rivers, as well as their many inhabitants. Her subjects include her volunteer work with the Wetland Birds Project, identifying and counting birds by their calls; the mystery of the disappearance of chimney swifts each fall; and the large number of amphibians on the prowl, ready to mate during foggy spring nights. Reid also explores the effects of pollution on the environment and the land's ability to recover. She weaves memoir throughout these essays, discussing topics such as her close relationship with her grandmother and her family history, past and present. Her relationship with, and marriage to, her partner, Holly, is central to her story across the essays, as is her self-reliance and the importance of home in this wild land. VERDICT This book will be savored by those who relish reading beautifully written essays about natural history and environmental concerns as well as by readers who enjoy memoirs.—Sue O'Brien, Downers Grove P.L., IL
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807009925
  • Publisher: Beacon
  • Publication date: 2/4/2014
  • Pages: 184
  • Sales rank: 1,389,082
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

Song Heart Rail 1
Water Rhythms 15
Tides 18
Ox Blink 22
Rescue 32
Salamander Crossing 36
Disquiet 40
Hitched, Massachusetts, 2004 51
Reliance 66
How to Become a Generalist 74
Companions 80
Deciphering Bird 83
Interventions 89
Catch and Release 101
Thoreau Alone Won’t Do 107
After a Sweet Singing Fall Down 118
Wild Geese and Other Nostalgias 132
When a Fox Skull No Longer Points Home 140
The Quiet House Is a Sudden Thing 149
Resilience 151
168 Notes 171 

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