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Published: And Other Stories - June 16th, 2015

Cover to Cover

 Cover to Cover is a quarterly Politics & Prose Staff Pick, the book we’ve all been reading & recommend, cover to cover.

In The World is On Fire, Joni Tevis wanders the American landscape like an explorer: jotting down everything she sees, questioning everything around her: beginning with the haunting of the Sarah Winchester house, Tevis's essays investigate nuclear tourism in the southwestern desert framed against the tragic plane ride of Buddy Holly and the piano trills of Liberace. Like travelers we wonder the countryside with a door-to-door scissor sharpener, we sit and listen to an auctioneer, we pay homage to the heavy industry of the South, and we learn about marble King, Berry Pink, self-made millionaire. Tevis' essays of motherhood are like a sermon, wondrously devastating, and filled with imagery of a desolate Alaskan refuge, of the cave of an apostle in Greece, and the gospel of Freddy Mercury. The essays in The World is On Fire reconcile the detritus and fallout of our present age with the wonder of a lost one, bringing a kaleidoscopic wonder to the essay form––never losing sight of the pain of the past or the loneliness of the now. These are the sorts of essays that make you sit up straight and wonder aloud, to feel the knots in your body, to look at the world through prismatic glass in sparkling wonder.

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