Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss by Margaret Renkl:

Anyone in Nashville who loves books and good writing has probably heard the name Margaret Renkl. Her book launch at Parnassus Books was an event! With the release of her book Late Migrations, plenty of other readers should know the name soon. I read one of the short pieces from the book in the Oxford American magazine, "The Imperfect Family Beatitudes." I was hooked.

The book, which can be classified as part flash memoir, part essay collection, digs back into Renkl's family history, recording stories told by her grandmother (e.g., "In Which Grandmother Tells the Story of the Day She was Shot), making inferences about the author's mother's depression, and chronicling events from her childhood (e.g. "Things I Knew When I Was Six" and "Things I Didn't Know When I Was Six.")

With none of the essays or sketches more than three pages, she also weaves in her keen observations of plant life, Monarch butterflies, and--literally--the birds and the bees. And while each piece is short, this is not one of those books to be stacked with the Readers Digest copies in the powder room for quick reads. I found myself turning "one more page, one more essay" without a break. She makes use of specific but unpretentious language to describe the world around her--from Lower Alabama to Nashville.

Her occasional literary allusions are delightful for literary sorts without being off-putting to any of her readers. As a result, she has produced a reading experience that will have readers ticking off a list of people who must read the book next.

1 comment:

Forever Young said...

Is this the book that you read while you were sitting at the bar between the TV room and the kitchen at our house? I may try this one when I get through paying for all the other books that I've been ordering! As always, you hook me.