A CERTAIN SOMEWHERE: Writers on the Places They Remember

Robert Wilson, Editor . Random $24.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-375-50849-3

These 30 essays collected by Wilson, who edits Preservation magazine, where the articles were originally published, reflect the importance of place in the lives of humans. As different from one another as the contrast between a refuge found by Phyllis Rose in New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art ("Metropolitan Hideaways") and Suzanne Freeman's heartfelt reminiscence of her grandmother's home in Murfreesboro, Tenn. ("The Museum of Who We Were"), these pieces are all equally engaging. Several of the essays concentrate on the relationship between the writers' craft and where they choose to practice it. Thomas Mallon researched material for his books at the New York Public Library on 42d Street and Fifth Avenue and recalls in "Paradise Regained" his unwarranted anxiety that the reading room, "as romantic as any place in the city" would be drastically changed during a lengthy period of renovation. In "Building for the Ages," Stephen Goodwin describes how he built a cabin in Virginia as a place to work in, but wound up writing many of his books elsewhere. Of particular interest is "The Spirit of Maui," Reeve Lindbergh's evocation of the Hawaiian island that was so important to her terminally ill father that he traveled from New York to die there. On a less serious note is Ann Beattie's "Hiding Out in Mañanaland," a tribute to Key West, one of the "comfortable repositories for the dis-located." In all, these selected essays form a delightful whole. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 09/23/2002
Release date: 11/01/2002
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