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The Other Walk

Essays
Sven Birkerts
Throughout his life, Sven Birkerts, one of the country’s foremost literary critics, has carved out time for himself—to walk, to swim, to read, to contemplate. Now in his late fifties, he has clocked up many thousands of hours of reflection. It shows in his prose, which proceeds at a refreshingly deliberative pace as it draws the reader into his patterns and rhythms.

In this deeply appealing and engaging collection of essays, Birkerts looks back through his own life, as well as at the generations before him, and ahead at the lives of his children. We read how the writer witnesses his son’s frightening sailing accident, how he feels when he encounters his own prose from many years ago, how finding a cigarette lighter or a lost ring releases a cascade of memories. The objects he sees around him—old friends, remembered places—are excavated, their layers exposed.

But most winning of all is the emerging character of Birkerts himself. We come to have great respect for this competitive but deeply loyal friend, the caring father who respects his children’s independence even as he tries to connect with them, the traveler, the onetime bookseller, the writer at all stages of his writing life, and throughout it all, the attentive, passionate reader.

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$15.00
ISBN
978-1-55597-593-7
Format
Paperback
Publication Date
Pages
192
Trim Size
5 1/2 x 8 1/4

A series of autobiographical pieces by the master of reflection and slow time

About the Author

Sven  Birkerts
Credit: Mara Birkerts
Sven Birkerts is the author of Changing the Subject and nine previous books, including The Other Walk,The Gutenberg Elegies, The Art of Time in Memoir, and My Sky Blue Trades. He is the director of the Bennington Writing Seminars, and he edits the journal AGNI, which is based at Boston University. He lives in Arlington, Massachusetts
 
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Praise

  • “Like a modern-day Proust, though at blessedly shorter length, Birkerts’s keen eye and sinuous prose are triggered time and again by the humblest of objects. . . . [The Other Walk] should be picked up, reread and savored for its expressive beauty and its gentle reminder that we can find life’s fullness amid its most inconsequential moments.”—Shelf Awareness
  • “One of America’s finest literary critics brings us 45 short autobiographical pieces meditating on the necessity and delight of quiet contemplation in a busy existence. . . . Sven Birkerts’s thoughtful and elegant pensées reveal the enchantment awaiting anyone who slows down long enough to look.”—The Barnes & Noble Review
  • “Birkerts’ essays, many of them about fatherhood, some about his Latvian heritage, are full of the passage of time—nostalgia, regret, melancholy. . . . In each essay, he looks for ‘the prompt, the sliver, the bit of grit that grows the pearl. He looks for the ‘smallest detail in the heart of the day.’”—Newsday
  • “[Birkerts] is one of the foremost essayists working today. He doesn’t care about seeming cool or sounding smart; he writes what he thinks. In this new gathering, he combines his typically astute literary criticism with personal essays about his first post-college job at Borders Books in Ann Arbor, Michigan; the night he learned to play chess; and his reflections on Saul Bellow.”—Chicago Tribune
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