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Slender Thread : Vintage - Diane Ackerman

Slender Thread


Paperback Published: 31st March 1998
ISBN: 9780679771333
Number Of Pages: 320

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his astonishing book by the prizewinning, bestselling author of A Natural History of the Senses reveals Ackerman's parallel lives as an observer of the wildlife in her garden and as a telephone crisis counselor. "(Ackerman) brings a luminous and illuminating combination of sensuality, science, and speculation to whatever she considers."--San Francisco Examiner.

"From the Hardcover edition."

Industry Reviews

From Ackerman (Rarest of the Rare, 1995, etc.) come these graceful, canny reflections on her hours spent fielding calls at a suicide prevention center. During "the long corridors of night, when problems can take on monstrous proportions," Ackerman sits in an ordinary room taking all-but-ordinary calls. Her phonemates are people on the raggedy edge, with voices of rising panic, rage, frustration, distant loneliness, but possessed of a precarious, tenuous hope that prompts them to telephone. She isn't a therapist, she isn't there to "[pick] problems apart and [make] sense of their origins and patterns." She is there to search for equilibrium, to be a friend for the duration, to examine options, to find windows and doors in a tunnel. She explores the degree of desperation in a caller's voice (imminent danger of suicide? a depression that may slacken?), knowing that "we hope our callers will choose life, but they have the option and the right to choose death." Nonetheless, she'll alert the police and call for a phone trace if things spin out of control. Ackerman's voracious imagination and curiosity find her making forays into biochemistry and the artistic temperament, the weather and Walt Whitman, bicycling and skiing, bringing them all to bear on her shifts at the crisis center. And it is not surprising that, as a writer of luminous essays on natural history, she is able to convincingly free-associate between the emotional geography of animals (a group of squirrels she is studying for a project) and humans, and compare her telephone work to the long-distance communication of whales, wolves, and birds. One could do a lot worse than to find Ackerman at the end of the line when feeling those desperately slippery moments of despair, the rush into the unknown. (Kirkus Reviews)

Prefacep. 3
Borrowed Heartsp. 5
Squirrels, and the Dark Night of the Soulp. 26
All the Bright Catastrophesp. 45
A Mass of Lifep. 62
The Golden Apples of the Sun, and Silver Apples of the Moonp. 81
The Shape of Firep. 95
The Heart's Asylump. 112
The Darkness of Our Daysp. 135
So Glory Descendsp. 162
The Orators of Augustp. 188
The World Unwoundp. 208
Desperate Measuresp. 236
A Last of Last Timesp. 253
Before the Dawnp. 264
Close Callsp. 291
Notes and Acknowledgmentsp. 295
Indexp. 297
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780679771333
ISBN-10: 0679771336
Series: Vintage
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 320
Published: 31st March 1998
Publisher: Random House USA Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 20.5 x 13.0  x 1.8
Weight (kg): 0.27
Edition Number: 1