A true anti-tweet: deep exploration of one Kansas County – in more than 600 wonderful pages.
Wayoverbooked Takes a Look:
Seems we may (?) have finally reached the Heat-Moon (July) in Portland — a month when we will hopefully take time to ponder the grass beneath our feet. That’s exactly what William Least Heat-Moon does in “PrairyErth” — he literally explores (and explores, literately) nearly every inch of a single county in Kansas. Think that’s bound to be boring? Nope – like putting pond water under a power microscope, you’ll be amazed and entranced by the intriguing characters of Chase County. Heat-Moon is a master of giving us a sense of place (something we Portlanders like to think we know a bit about!) in places unexpected. The book is subtitled “(a deep map)” (LOVE those parenthetical subtitles!), and I was reminded (even though this book was written in 1991) of Google Earth — looking at a place from space, and then getting closer, and closer, and closer…
You’ll find geology, history, botany and philosophy galore in “PrairyErth” – and you’ll want to savor them all (as you stare at those blades of grass poking up between your toes).
Notes and Quotes:
The word “prairyerth” is an old geologic term for the soil of America’s grasslands.
Took my breath away:
“While I may pass my life in continuity and completeness, I comprehend it only in discontinuous fragments; of the lives of people around me my understanding is utterly fractured and piecemeal: scraps, shavings, smithereens. Family or friends tell me a story in a few details, and I say, I see. Even more than autobiography, biography and history and literature and all the arts are far-flung bits reassembled into an illusion of completeness so that we comprehend only by orts.”
News and Reviews:
Looks like there could soon be a movie! Return to PrairyErth (trailer – YouTube)
Listen to radio interviews with the author here (scroll down the page for PrairyErth). Available for Real Player or in mp3.