“Every day the world is teaching me what I need to know to be in the world.” – Margaret Renkl, Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss.
Last year I encountered two new-to-me writers who bowled me over.
I would say that one of them, Margaret Renkl, is a kindred spirit; she cares deeply about family, the natural world, and the fate of our earth. I never fail to read her opinion pieces in The New York Times.
I’d like to press her memoir into the hands of every reader I know. Late Migrations is a meditation in short, interlocking essays about family, love, loss and backyard nature, destined to become a classic.
It won the 2020 Reed Environmental Writing Award from the Southern Environmental Law Center, and was named a 2020 Notable Book by the American Library Association.
You couldn’t find a better book at a time like this. It’s written in short, exquisite essays of a page or two, so you can read it in small bits if you’d like.
There is grief – for lost family and a wounded natural world – but mostly her writing is a celebration of the natural cycles of life and death, and the wildlife accessible outside our windows and in our backyards.
In lieu of saying more, here is a 9-minute video trailer featuring Renkl, who calls her memoir “a love letter to my family and to the natural world.” The video is like a mini-retreat. Enjoy!
Have you read Late Migrations? Or another memoir about family and nature that is comparable?
Next on Books Can Save a Life: The other writer who bowled me over – just about the coolest and most uplifting and loving and literary and funny and expansive collection of essays you could ever read.