Rebecca Solnit’s book of compelling and remarkable essays The Faraway Nearby is unsettling and very beautiful. It begins with Solnit being given several boxes of apricots from a tree in her mother’s garden, which she stores on her bedroom floor, where they ripen, some rotting, some being turned into preserves and pies and other treats.
Solnit and her siblings are beginning a long, fraught process of finding a home for their mother who cannot live safely by herself any longer. The process inspires these essays, interwoven, eclectic meditations on storytelling and family. They are wide ranging yet also deeply personal, sometimes raw – Solnit and her mother were not an easy fit. They are beautifully crafted and surprising – when you have finished, you feel lucky and disbelieving, like you have caught a glimpse of something rare and precious.