cover image Hunting for Hope CL

Hunting for Hope CL

Scott Russell Sanders. Beacon Press (MA), $23 (240pp) ISBN 978-0-8070-6324-8

In these wise and luminous essays, Sanders takes on big themes: living a centered life, our relation to animals and to nature, the survival of human values in our greed-driven commercial culture. The leitmotif is his not-quite-extinguished hope for a livable, sane world offering people a decent future--a hope he nurtures despite the ecological devastation, family breakdown and moral decay he sees. Notable among these 15 adventurous essays are ""Skill,"" a meditation on the life-enhancing use or the misuse of one's innate talents; ""The Way of Things,"" an attempt to reconcile modern cosmology with ancient beliefs in a divine creator; ""Body Bright,"" a Blakean call for cleansing the doors of perception, reconnecting with the planet and our fellow creatures; and ""Fidelity,"" which explores marriage as an arena for the fulfillment of desire. The thread through this labyrinth of ideas is Sanders's account of backpacking in the Colorado Rockies with his son whose optimism tempers the fatherly pessimism. Although these beautifully written pieces are reminiscent of Wendell Berry's essays in their economy, grace and moral passion, Sanders projects his own distinctive voice, at once recognizably Midwestern (he's from Indiana by way of Ohio) and universal. Editor, Deanne Urmy; agent, John Wright. (Sept.)