SPLENDORED THING: Love, Roses & Other Thorny Treasures

Bia Lowe, Author . Seal $19.95 (237p) ISBN 978-1-58005-074-6

The author of 1995's acclaimed Wild Ride: Earthquakes, Sneezes and Other Thrills muses here on ordinary objects (mouths, roses, apples), familiar activities (falling, map reading, kissing) and traditional tales (Hansel and Gretel, the Three Bears, Rapunzel), offering commentaries that balloon like cotton candy, at first airy, then becoming dense. In these 15 genre-bending meditations, Lowe takes readers on a random—yet exhilarating—ride, toting along ideas from such thinkers as Thomas Aquinas, James Baldwin, Helen Keller, Barbara McClintock and Roger Williams. Her voice is alternately impious, impish, sensuous, witty, probing and altogether passionate. The central theme is love, admittedly a "troublesome enterprise," but one that permeates many aspects of Lowe's life—she is in love with women, in love with words ("metaphor has more truth than details ever could"), and even in love with love itself. She examines love and conflict via a prism of examples, among them engaging in sexual behavior with a classmate when she was a young girl, pursuing cows gone loose in Ireland, sharing homemade lamb stew with new friends and responding to the 2001 terrorist attacks. Abstract as the essays can be, Lowe's love for "Rose, the pseudonymous woman, object of this valentine" and her measured compassion for her mother are fully concrete. She delightfully shares personal and historical anecdotes, all the while reflecting on the tremendous powers of love and fear. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 08/26/2002
Release date: 09/01/2002
Genre: Nonfiction
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