High Tide in Tucson: Essays from Now or Never

Barbara Kingsolver, Author HarperCollins Publishers $22 (288p) ISBN 978-0-06-017291-6
Novelist Kingsolver (Pigs in Heaven) is not one to let her miscellany stagnate; she has revised or expanded many of the 25 essays included here, most of which have previously been published, and yes, there are thematic links in her view of family, writing, politics and places. The strongest link is Kingsolver's wise and spirited voice, animated by poetic and precise language. A Kentucky transplant to Arizona, Kingsolver recounts the triumph and pathos of her return home as a novelist; she also delights in recollecting her role in the notorious Rock Bottom Remainders, the band of writers famous for their ABA performances. ``Raising children is a patient alchemy,'' she declares; indeed, her self-imposed exile during the Gulf War led her to Spain's Canary Islands and an atmosphere of much greater affection for kids. Reports from Benin and Hawaii, even her aquarium, show the author to be a curious and sensitive observer. Most telling perhaps are Kingsolver's reflections on her mission: because it aims to convey truths we know but can't feel, ``[g]ood art is political, whether it means to be or not.'' Illustrations. Literary Guild alternate. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/30/1995
Release date: 10/01/1995
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