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May 2002. My first trip to Ireland. Alone, I join a small group of strangers to hike the Beara peninsula, West Cork. I fall deeply in love with a land of impossible greens, of peaches-and-cream sunrises and salmon-flesh sunsets, of lashing rain and wind, always wind. ... more
This book is about a small place—just over twenty thousand square miles in total, less than four hundred miles tip to tip—yet it is still hard to get everywhere here. My atlas of Nova Scotia is twenty-five years old, but since not much has changed in the past quarter century I see no reason to replace it. Lots of the nine thousand names on the maps aren’t really places at all in any traditional sense: they’re hillocks, brooks, gullies or ponds that people use to orient themselves to the landscape.... more
The American South is irrevocably tied to its racial history, so much so that its reverberations still linger in politics and culture in the present. Jesmyn Ward’s latest novel, Sing, Unburied, Sing, exhumes the gothic and mythic presence of the South to create a sense of foreboding danger from the opening scene, where the young Jojo loses his innocence when his grandfather teaches him how to slaughter a lamb.... more