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Outside

By Barry Lopez and Barry Moser and James Perrin Warren
Outside by Barry Lopez and Barry Moser and James Perrin Warren digital book - Fable

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Publisher Description

The six stories in Outside show Barry Lopez’s majestic talent as a fiction writer. Lopez writes in spare prose, but his narratives resonate with an uncanny power. With a reverence for our exterior and interior landscapes, these stories offer profound insight into the relationships between humans and animals, creativity and beauty, and ultimately, life and death.

In “Desert Notes,” the narrator says, “All my life I have wanted to trick blood from a rock.” The story proceeds to instruct the visitor on how to experience the desert but continues like no ordinary field guide. At stake here is what is at the furthest edge of our grasp. “You will think you have hold of the idea when you have only the hold of its clothing.” Rattlesnakes, the shell of a beetle, a few twigs, silence--out of these spare elements Lopez conjures a realm that shimmers with an elusive but palpable presence.

“The Search for the Heron” and “Within Birds’ Hearing” present encounters with animals that are imbued with spiritual--and often inexplicable--exchanges. In solitary, almost visionary episodes, the narrators pass into permeable realms of nature, recalling a time when humans and animals spoke the same language. Lopez’s gift is to imagine a reality where humans can be so embedded in the natural world that the boundaries between inner and outer fall away.

Again and again, whether describing a Navajo rug possessing the essence of its maker, or a boy who can change places with his half-coyote dog (named Leaves), or a teacher whose presence brings into question the meaning of friendship, Lopez portrays elemental and sacred places. His prose transcends its simplicity to enter spaces of wonder and mystery.

As James Perrin Warren says in his compelling introduction, “Lopez’s narrators bear witness to extraordinary patterns and purposes . . . The storyteller is vital to the community and to a healthy landscape, but the vital relationship is also reciprocal. . . . We participate, along with Lopez, in the long history of storytelling. We become part of the atmosphere in which wisdom shows itself.”

Barry Moser’s eleven otherworldly, densely layered engravings accompany the text. Each provides a meditative experience that parallels Lopez’s complex sense of our relationship to nature. An afterword by Lopze closes this dramatically original collaboration.

Outside brings together Barry Lopez, best known for his National Book Award–winning Arctic Dreams; Barry Moser, the publisher of Pennyroyal Press, whose reputation as a book artist, printmaker, designer, and artist is legendary; and the widely published James Perrin Warren, a professor of English at Washington and Lee University, to offer an abundance of riches for readers and lovers of fine books.

About Barry Lopez

Barry Lopez was an essayist, author, and short-story writer who traveled extensively in both remote and populated parts of the world. He is the author of Arctic Dreams, which received the National Book Award; HorizonOf Wolves and MenHome Ground: A Guide to the American Landscape; and eight works of fiction, including OutsideLight Action in the CaribbeanField Notes, and Resistance. He is the author of Syntax of the River: The Pattern Which Connects with Julia Martin. His essays are collected in two books, Crossing Open Ground and About This Life. Lopez lived in western Oregon.

Other books by Barry Lopez

Barry Moser

Barry Moser is the prizewinning illustrator and designer of more than 300 books for children and adults. He has won numerous accolades for his work, including the prestigious National Book Award for Design and Illustration and the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award. He is widely celebrated for his dramatic wood engravings for the only twentieth-century edition of the entire King James Bible illustrated by a single artist. His work is represented in collections throughout the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the British Museum, and the Library of Congress. Moser is the Irwin and Pauline Alper Glass Professor of Art at Smith College and serves as printer to the college. He lives in western Massachusetts.

James Perrin Warren

James Perrin Warren is the S. Blount Mason Jr. Professor of English at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. Warren specializes in nineteenth-century literature and culture, and literature of the environment. His books include John Burroughs and the Place of Nature, Culture of Eloquence: Oratory and Reform in Antebellum America, and Walt Whitman’s Language Experiment.

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