cover image Embrace Fearlessly the Burning World: Essays

Embrace Fearlessly the Burning World: Essays

Barry Lopez. Random House, $28 (352p) ISBN 978-0-593-24282-7

Memoir and nature writing come together in this lyrical collection from National Book Award winner Lopez (Horizon). As Lopez (1945–2020) writes of his encounters with wildlife, he pulls back to comment on larger environmental and emotional concerns. “On Location” considers an unusual type of Pacific walrus that lives alone and hunts “other marine mammals smaller than itself,” and muses on climate disruption: “To survive what’s headed our way... we will need to trust each other, because today, it’s as if every safe place has melted into the sameness of water. We are searching for the boats we forgot to build.” “Residence,” meanwhile, is an ode to the flora and fauna of his home outside of Santa Fe. The most memorable sections deal with his victimization, beginning when he was six and continuing for more than five years, by a pedophile doctor and family friend; that torment was exacerbated by Lopez’s mother’s defenses of the man and a general refusal to believe a doctor could abuse his power. “I thought of myself as a man walking around with shrapnel sealed in his flesh, and I wanted to get the fragments out,” Lopez writes in “Sliver of Sky.” Fans and newcomers alike will be enlightened by these roving explorations. (May)