PRAISE FOR THE ABSENT HAND
Half memoir, half cri de coeur, this book by a former New Yorker writer seeks to understand how our malls, green expanses and urban spaces reflect on our humanity.
- The New York Times editor's choice
Whitmanesque meditation on the way we live today. ... what makes this book compelling is not so much where the author goes, but how she reflects on what she sees when she gets there.
New Yorker contributor Lessard explores the American landscape as a metaphor for recent shifts in the national consciousness ... Throughout, Lessard offers an extraordinary way of examining and understanding the aesthetics of different environments, whether urban, suburban, or bucolic, which will inspire readers to look with new curiosity at the places around them.
- Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Of beach plums, ramps, and Ramada Inns : a quietly sensitive, eminently sensible consideration of the landscapes of our lives ... a gift.
Lessard yearns for the authentic human experience that arose from the construction of landscapes formed by human endeavor.
In this ambitious work, place is examined, deconstructed and incrementally illuminated, even as our landscape changes anew.
EXCERPT FROM THE ABSENT HAND
One summer day a few years ago, when the stream was brown and racing, I set out across the Hudson River to a village in the Connecticut Berkshires to visit a friend. Caroline is 20 years my senior, an interesting interval that makes us a short generation apart. Generations today are separated by vastly different experiences of a changing world, but Caroline and I share a language of place-love that can bridge that gap easily. These languages are not the same as what linguists look at but are rather skeins of references, usually to the natural world, regional or even local, that have emotional meaning to people who live there.
PRAISE FOR THE ARCHITECT OF DESIRE
The patterns she detects in his life and architecture -- 'harmony with chaos underneath,' an 'atmosphere of joy trapped in silence, with catastrophe latent,' 'the whirlwind in the calm' -- she also sees in her family's life and her own.
- Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post
Few writers have ever captured the exquisite, delicate balance of architecture and memory as eloquently and as movingly as Suzannah Lessard.
-Paul Goldberger, New York Times