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The September Book Club – The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit

September 27, 2022 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm EDT


We’re trying something completely different for book club this month. Since so many of you have been interested in using fairy tales when writing about your own lives (i.e. using fairy tales in memoir), we thought The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit could be a great launchpad into that discussion.

The Faraway Nearby isn’t quite like anything else we’ve ever read. It’s part memoir, part fairy tale, part travelogue, part prose poem, and part literary criticism. There’s also an incredibly gorgeous essay/ fairy tale that runs along the bottom of each page of the book (which you can read in one fell swoop at the end of the Kindle version.) Solnit uses fairy tales, Frankenstein, history, personal narrative and about a million other things to explore how we are all made of stories – how the stories we tell shape us, constrain us, or set us free.

In her review of The Faraway Nearby, Marina Warner (fairy-tale scholar extraordinaire) says:

“Solnit invokes Scheherazade’s enterprise to tell tales to dispel the rage of the Sultan, and she explicitly sets out to keep at bay the harm and threats and fears she has experienced. Some of her meanderings are geographical (the jungles of Bolivia, the endless light of summer in Iceland). Others are personal: psychological struggles in her own life recently, including bitter love for her mother, who, like the wicked queen in Snow White, was envious of her blond, clever daughter. But with the oncoming vacancy of Alzheimer’s in her mother’s brain, their strife begins to lessen; Solnit painfully traces the way the parent-child roles reverse and she becomes a mother to her mother. Then she herself is diagnosed with a dangerous disease. It remains unnamed, while the treatment is examined up close; the faraway nearby also works as a metaphor for her own body, when it has become an enemy bent on doing her harm.”

Our meeting will be on Tuesday, September 27th at 7PM ET!

To join us, make sure you’re on the Willow tier ($7) or higher for the month of September. Look for the link on Patreon closer to the date!


September 27, 2022
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm EDT
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The Carterhaugh Patreon