The Small Heart of Things: Being at Home in a Beckoning World

The Small Heart of Things: Being at Home in a Beckoning World


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In The Small Heart of Things, Julian Hoffman intimately examines the myriad ways in which connections to the natural world can be deepened through an equality of perception, whether it’s a caterpillar carrying its house of leaves, transhumant shepherds ranging high mountain pastures, a quail taking cover on an empty steppe, or a Turkmen family emigrating from Afghanistan to Istanbul. The narrative spans the common—and often contested—ground that supports human and natural communities alike, seeking the unsung stories that sustain us.

Guided by the belief of Rainer Maria Rilke that “everything beckons us to perceive it,” Hoffman explores the area around the Prespa Lakes, the first transboundary park in the Balkans, shared by Greece, Albania, and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. From there he travels widely to regions rarely written about, exploring the idea that home is wherever we happen to be if we accord that place our close and patient attention.

The Small Heart of Things is a book about looking and listening. It incorporates travel and natural history writing that interweaves human stories with those of wild creatures. Distinguished by Hoffman’s belief that through awareness, curiosity, and openness we have the potential to forge abiding relationships with a range of places, it illuminates how these many connections can teach us to be at home in the world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780820347578
Publisher: University of Georgia Press
Publication date: 09/15/2014
Series: Association of Writers and Writing Programs Award for Creative Nonfiction Series , #24
Pages: 168
Sales rank: 323,724
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x (d)

About the Author

JULIAN HOFFMAN is the author of The Small Heart of Things: Being at Home in a Beckoning World (Georgia), which won the 2012 AWP Award Series for Creative Nonfiction and the National Outdoor Book Award for Natural History Literature. He was also the winner of the Nonfiction Prize and has written for EarthLines, Kyoto Journal, Beloit Fiction Journal, Briar Cliff Review, Flyway, Redwood Coast Review, Silk Road Review, and Southern Humanities Review. He lives in northwestern Greece.

Table of Contents

Preface xi

Shadow Grounds 1

Homing 6

The Other Shore 18

The Memory of Land and Water 22

An Accumulation of Light 38

Gifts 48

Among Reeds 51

Time in the Karst Country 59

The Distance between Us 70

A Family Field Guide 79

On Passage 82

The Wood for the Trees 94

A Winter Moth 103

The Circumference of a Second 114

The Small Heart of Things 117

Faith in a Forgotten Place 129

Shifting Shadows 146

Acknowledgments 151

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