The Cushion in the Road: Meditation and Wandering as the Whole World Awakens to Being in Harm's Way

The Cushion in the Road: Meditation and Wandering as the Whole World Awakens to Being in Harm's Way

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by Alice Walker
     
 

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This gorgeous collection gathers Alice Walker’s wide-ranging meditations—many of them previously unpublished—on our intertwined personal, spiritual, and political destinies. For the millions of her devoted fans, and for readers of Walker’s bestselling 2006 book, We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For, here is a brand new "gift of words"

Overview

This gorgeous collection gathers Alice Walker’s wide-ranging meditations—many of them previously unpublished—on our intertwined personal, spiritual, and political destinies. For the millions of her devoted fans, and for readers of Walker’s bestselling 2006 book, We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For, here is a brand new "gift of words" that invites readers on a journey of political awakening and spiritual insight.

The Cushion in the Road finds the Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist, poet, essayist, and activist at the height of her literary powers, sharing fresh vantages and a deepening engagement with our world. Walker writes that "we are beyond a rigid category of color, sex, or spirituality if we are truly alive," and the pieces in The Cushion in the Road illustrate this idea beautifully. Visiting themes she has addressed throughout her career—including racism, Africa, Palestinian solidarity, and Cuba—as well as addressing emergent issues, such as the presidency of Barack Obama on health care, Walker explores her conflicting impulses to retreat into inner contemplation and to remain deeply engaged with the world.

Rich with humor and wisdom, and informed by Walker’s unique eye for the details of human and natural experience, The Cushion in the Road will please longtime Walker fans as well as those who are new to her work.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In linking meditation to wandering, the distinguished and prolific Walker, whose books include the Pulitzer Prize– and National Book Award–winning The Color Purple, produces a meandering assortment of her ideas and musings between 2008 and 2012 about matters spiritual, political, and personal. Figuring in her diverse and self-absorbed ruminations are, among others, Obama, Hilary Clinton, Dennis Banks, Cicely Tyson, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Julian Assange, Bradley Manning, and John Lennon. The mélange includes her reflections on her favorite films and audiobooks, her officiating at a gay marriage, her own “marriage”—to her cat and dog, her imagining Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera’s response to the drug cartels, along with her public letters to, among others, Aung San Suu Kyi and Nawal El Saadawi. She notes that her “mentor and teacher” include the Dalai Lama and Amma, Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Castro and Mandela. The section “On Palestine”—where Walker recounts her journey to Gaza with Code Pink, her participation in the Freedom Flotilla, and argues for a “one-state settlement”—will likely attract the most attention. Walker’s concern for the state of humanity and the planet comes through as impassioned and genuine, as does her view of the place of meditation in her personal life. Agent: Wendy Weil, the Wendy Weil Agency. (Apr.)
From the Publisher

Praise for The Cushion in the Road:
“Walker’s compassion, courage, and humor gain strength and eloquence essay by essay. . . . Media attention will surge for this provocative collection by Walker, a revered writer of conscience.”
Booklist

"The Cushion in the Road is quintessential Alice Walker:edgy, demanding, prayerful, loving, and aware. An essential companion for those who wish to be a force for positive change in our perpetually challenging world."
Foreword

Praise for Alice Walker:
"Alice Walker is a muse for our times . . . she touches the soul, and propels us to action."
—Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now!

"A lavishly gifted writer."
The New York Times

Library Journal
In this collection of articles, letters, lectures, poems, and essays, Pulitzer Prize winner Walker (The Color Purple) reaffirms her role as an activist working for peace and justice. The book opens with an essay expressing her hopes for Barack Obama’s presidency in 2008 and continues with promoting a series of human rights causes, from the controversy surrounding U.S. Army private Bradley Manning and Burma’s political opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to her support for Cuba’s former prime minister Fidel Castro. One of her major concerns remains the plight of the Palestinians, a cause she has long championed. Her impassioned, hard-line approach has alienated some supporters of Israel and caused Walker to be labeled as anti-Semitic.

Verdict Despite her fiery political views, Walker presents a vision of life filled with prayer, purpose, and commitment that will inspire many. This articulate book will appeal to Walker fans and readers dedicated to political change.—Nancy R. Ives, SUNY at Geneseo
(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

e, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Reviews
In a new collection, Walker (The Chicken Chronicles, 2012, etc.) once again shows herself to be a deep and compassionate participant in global humanitarian efforts. Beginning with a meditation on the promise wrought by the first inauguration of Barack Obama, the author's essays, poems and letters are infused with a quiet grace and gentle resolve to act responsibly. Although now in her 60s and looking forward to a time to "withdraw from the worldly fray," Walker was prodded off her meditation "cushion" in Mexico by world events and sent flying to far-flung places in the world that required her keen, writerly eyewitness. For example, one essay was inspired by finding herself in Cape Town, South Africa, as a juror at the Russell Tribunal on Palestine. She also headed to Gaza with CODEPINK and the Freedom Flotilla II, and she composed another essay about her "overcoming speechlessness" after the horrors witnessed in Rwanda and Eastern Congo. Brave, resilient and upbeat, Walker offers unbending meditations on injustice wherever she has met it. The "womanist" author explains why she supported Obama over "Mrs. Clinton" ("if he wins the presidency we will have not one but three black women in the White House…none of them carrying the washing in and out of the back door") and offers reflections on her early teacher Howard Zinn and her early work for the freedom movement in Mississippi. Walker's "recipe[s] for difficult times" provide a heartfelt response to a new generation's yearning for public service.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781595588869
Publisher:
New Press, The
Publication date:
04/09/2013
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
651,288
File size:
679 KB

Meet the Author

Alice Walker is one of the most prolific writers of our time, known for her literary fiction, including the Pulitzer Prize–winning The Color Purple; her many volumes of poetry; and her powerful nonfiction collections, including We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For and The Chicken Chronicles: A Memoir (both published by The New Press). Her advocacy for the dispossessed has spanned the globe. She lives in Northern California.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Mendocino, California
Date of Birth:
February 9, 1944
Place of Birth:
Eatonton, Georgia
Education:
B.A., Sarah Lawrence College, 1965; attended Spelman College, 1961-63

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The Cushion in the Road: Meditation and Wandering As the Whole World Awakens to Being in Harm's Way 2.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fiercely compassionate.
HAA More than 1 year ago
Incredibly and legitimately anti-semitic drivel. Highly recommended to those who bought Mein Kampf, by Adolf Hitler.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
anti Semitic well written diatribe. put Wagner on while reading.