Finding Beauty in a Broken World

Finding Beauty in a Broken World

by Terry Tempest Williams
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Finding Beauty in a Broken World 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
sequoialitfan More than 1 year ago
Weaving seemingly disparate subjects (mosaic, prairie dogs, Rwanda) into one volume takes imagination. It worked so brilliantly in Refuge (Salt Lake levels, birdwatching, cancer) but it's a little disappointing here. I wanted more than a tangential reference between mosaic tiles, prairie dogs, and genocide. Connections exist, but for the reader to feel that this is more than the author's device of choice (to accommodate her many interests and passionate pursuit of healing, environmental responsibility and justice, all in one book), I for one would appreciate a bit more polishing, editing, a clearer trajectory. Because I found these lacking, the book reads slightly unfinished, packing everything in when really, less is more. The substantial section devoted to the journal of watching a prairie dog colony looked daunting, but turned out to relay quite successfully the meditative aspects of "p-dog watching" along with fascinating detail. To my surprise, I found this section most interesting and evidence of the poet, the wordsmith that I admire in Terry Tempest Williams. The section on Rwanda is predictably hard to read for its content, but perhaps more so because we get to witness how quickly the in-country experience became overwhelming for the author. It left me with a bundle of unanswered questions as to why she went, why she had to contribute to the mosaic for the genocide memorial, other than what? Curiosity, personal interest, not being able to say no? Of course, it's important that accounts about reality in Africa reach the Western world, so sorely lacking in all the media, but perhaps the burden of reporting back from the emotional minefield of Rwanda is too much for one individual. It left me wondering why we started off in a mosaic workshop in Italy. The device for the thread, the theme of this book, wore thin. I admire Tempest Williams' work, and I admire the poetic style of her observations, and her passion for the natural environment. Seemingly disjointed narratives that rely on the reader to draw the connections are fine, but in this book I found them overreaching, defeating the purpose of the worthy attempt. The Open Space of Democracy comes to mind (the slimmest of volumes, really just an essay, a plea) which is Tempest Williams at her finest, in my book.
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