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An award-winning poet's nonfiction debut - essays about the natural world, and the way its inhabitants can teach, support and inspire us.

 

"What the peacock can do is remind you of a home you will run away from and run back to all your life."

The axolotl teaches us to smile, even in the face of unkindness; the touch-me-not plant shows us how to shake off unwanted advances; the narwhal demonstrates how to survive in hostile environments.

In her nonfiction debut, award-winning poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil explores the many places she has called home, from inhospitable plains to tall mountains in big sky country. No matter where she is transplanted, Nezhukumatathil finds beauty and kinship, even in the strange and the unlovely. For it is this way with wonder: it requires that we are curious enough to look past the distractions in order to fully appreciate the world's gifts.

 

Details

ISBN: 9781788168908
Audience: General
Format: Hardback
Number of Pages: 184
Edition: Main
Publication Date: 2 Sep 2021
Publisher: Profile Books Ltd
Dimensions (cm): 22.3(H) x 14.5(L) x 2(W)
Weight (gm): 375

 

Reviews

Within two pages, nature writing feels different and fresh and new. Nezhukumatathil has written a timely story about love, identity and belonging ... We are losing the language and the ability to see and understand the wondrous things around us. And our lives are impoverished by this process ... This book demands we find the eyes to see and the heart to love such things once more. It is a very fine book indeed, truly full of wonder. -- James Rebanks * New York Times Book Review *
Aimee Nezhukumatathil's World of Wonders is the first book to make me feel like a firefly as much as it reminds me I'm still a black boy playing in Central Mississippi woods. The book walks. It sprints. It leaps. Most importantly, the book lingers in a world where power, people, and the literal outside wrestle painfully, beautifully. This book is a world of wonders. This book is about to shake the Earth. -- Kiese Laymon
Sometimes we need teachers who remind us how to be flabbergasted and gobsmacked and flummoxed and enswooned by the wonders of this earth. How to be in stupefied and devotional love to the wonders of this earth. How to be in love with this, our beloved earth. Aimee Nezhukumatathil's World of Wonders is as good and generous a teacher as one could ever ask for. This book enraptures with its own astonishments and reveries while showing us how to be enraptured, how to revere. Which, again, is showing us how to be in love. I can think of nothing more important. Or wonderful. -- Ross Gay, author of The Books of Delights
From its gorgeous illustrations to its unusual combination of lyrical nature writing and memoir, World of Wonders is hands-down one of the most beautiful books of the year. -- NPR "Best Books of 2020"
In thirty bewitching essays, Nezhukumatathil spotlights natural astonishments raining from monsoon season in India to clusters of fireflies in western New York, each one a microcosm of joy and amazement. With her ecstatic prose and her rapturous powers of insight, Nezhukumatathil proves herself a worthy spiritual successor to the likes of Mary Oliver and Annie Dillard, setting the bar high for a new generation of nature writers. * Esquire *
Should the wonderful David Attenborough ever retire, my hope is someone at BBC has read the work of Aimee Nezhukumatathil ... What a lovely book this is, gentle in its pacing, well-illustrated by Fumi Nakamura, and quietly subversive in the way she channels its gusts of joy. * Literary Hub *
Nezhukumatathil's investigations, enhanced by Nakamura's vividly rendered full-color illustrations, range across the world, from a rapturous rendering of monsoon season in her father's native India to her formative years in Iowa, Kansas, and Arizona, where she learned from the native flora and fauna that it was common to be different ... The writing dazzles with the marvel of being fully alive. -- Starred Review * Kirkus Reviews *
These are the praise songs of a poet working brilliantly in prose. Each essay compresses a great deal of art and truth into a small space, whether about fireflies or flamingos, monkeys or monsoons, childhood or motherhood, or the trials and triumphs of living with brown skin in a dominant white world. You will not find a more elegant, exuberant braiding of natural and personal history. -- Scott Russell Sanders, author of The Way of Imagination

 

Author Biography

Aimee Nezhukumatathil is the author of four collections of poems, including Oceanic, winner of the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award. Her writing appears in Poetry, The New York Times Magazine and Tin House. She serves as poetry faculty for the Writing Workshops in Greece, and is professor of English and creative writing in the University of Mississippi's MFA program. This is her first work of nonfiction.
World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks and Other Astonishments
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