Monday, December 28, 2020

Book Review: Jo Ann Beard’s forthcoming Festival Days

I discovered Jo Ann Beard’s rich, riveting work when a writing teacher assigned her essay The Fourth State Of Matter, which appeared in the New Yorker in 1996. That essay so wowed me, I couldn’t wait to read more. This forthcoming book, Festival Days, is a potent treasure, jammed with perfectly-observed details and a rhythm that tumbles forward like a song. Beard chronicles the commonplace and the unusual with equal beauty. Her ability to make time do what she wants is impressive. She can make it drag, while simultaneous pulling the reader forward, in The Tomb of Wrestling, and pushes it into quick leaps as if choreographing a fast-paced dance in the title piece Festival Days. As she so often does, each piece, and the collection as a whole, come to a smashing final beat, more than the sum of its parts, both separate and connected. A beautiful book, highly recommended


Grey Horse Matters said...

Thanks billie, I'll check it out. Hope everyone is home safely and enjoying being all together again.

billie said...

A, I think you’ll enjoy Jo Ann Beard’s work. And yes, all are home and safe. We’re not gathering yet but my son and daughter-in-law are bringing their Malinois Aria over for off-leash romps in Poplar Folly each morning until they get their own fencing put in, so I at least get to see them passing through! :)