A Wild, Rank Place: A Season of Change

A Wild Rank Place A Season of Change Cape Cod that sandy wind swept enchantress has captivated many writers among them Henry David Thoreau whose descriptions of that wild rank place have fired the imaginations of not one but many g

  • Title: A Wild, Rank Place: A Season of Change
  • Author: David Gessner
  • ISBN: 9780874518030
  • Page: 362
  • Format: Paperback
  • Cape Cod, that sandy, wind swept enchantress, has captivated many writers, among them Henry David Thoreau, whose descriptions of that wild, rank place have fired the imaginations of not one but many generations Among Thoreau s literary progeny is David Gessner, but this book goes far beyond the naturalist s focus on the transcendent beauty of the landscape Rather, GessneCape Cod, that sandy, wind swept enchantress, has captivated many writers, among them Henry David Thoreau, whose descriptions of that wild, rank place have fired the imaginations of not one but many generations Among Thoreau s literary progeny is David Gessner, but this book goes far beyond the naturalist s focus on the transcendent beauty of the landscape Rather, Gessner combines his deeply felt sense of place with observations of the Cape s people and with insights about his family, himself, and his art In a series of interconnected personal essays, he explores his response to his own recently cured cancer and to the lung cancer that is killing his father Issues of life and death intertwine with images of a land that Gessner finds curiously healing Here thoughts are swamped by the smells, sounds, and sights of place The gentle hypnotic lapping of waves A prehistoric cormorant on a slick black rock The delicate lacework of sea grass roots breaking down through a ledge of sand.Gessner s introspection during a year spent writing in the family s weathered cottage portrays another struggle, too For a young writer just beginning his career, such mighty literary forebears as Thoreau can be imposing, if not paralyzing Yet the process of sorting through and making peace with the memories of his genetic father gives Gessner the power to declare artistic independence from his literary one Seeing something tremendously heroic about his father s determination to perform mundane tasks in the face of imminent death brings Gessner to realize that our minds have minds of their own Reality is fabulous, yes, but we also crave something Symbol, perhaps Meaning In the end, what Cape Cod comes to mean for Gessner is not just freedom from the past, but love and nobility in the face of death.

    One thought on “A Wild, Rank Place: A Season of Change”

    1. The author redeemed the book for me somewhat by observing that he might be moving out of an extended adolescence, as that's how it read. My feeling is this is a far more important work for the writer than the reader - something he just had to do - and so it is a honest book if only because he is wracked with so much self doubt and suspicion of his own motives. And of course there's lots he's not telling, but that's ok too. And I'm pretty much the same age as him, and recognise bits of my past se [...]

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