A Private History of Awe

A Private History of Awe

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An original and searching memoir from qone of America's finest essayistsq (Phillip Lopate) When Scott Russell Sanders was four, his father held him in his arms during a thunderstorm, and he felt awe--qthe tingle of a power that surges through bone and rain and everything.q He says, qThe search for communion with this power has run like a bright thread through all my days.q A Private History of Awe is an account of this search, told as a series of awe-inspiring episodes: his early memory of watching a fire with his father; his attraction to the solemn cadences of the Bible despite his frustration with Sunday-school religion; his discovery of books and the body; his mounting opposition to the Vietnam War and all forms of violence; his decision to leave behind the university life of Oxford and Harvard and return to Indiana, where three generations of his family have put down roots. In many ways, this is the story of a generation's passage through the 1960s--from innocence to experience, from euphoria to disillusionment. But Sanders has found a language that captures the transcendence of ordinary lives while never reducing them to formula. In his hands, the pattern of American boyhood that was made classic by writers from Mark Twain to Tobias Wolff is given a powerful new charge.Afierward, I sometimes discover that the alarm has been triggered or the calendar has been changed and then I have to figure out how to reset the controls. It does little good to consult the instructions, which are printed in four languages on a scrap of paper the size of a playing ... I relit the pilot light on her water heater, restrung the cord on her weed trimmer, sharpened the blade on her mower and cut ... After a long battle, and much grieving on our part and hers, we took away the keys.

Title:A Private History of Awe
Author:Scott Russell Sanders
Publisher:Macmillan - 2007-05-15


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