An urgent final work from the award-wining author whose writing, fieldwork and mentorship inspired generations of writers and activists.
An ardent steward of the land, fearless traveller and unrivalled observer of nature and culture, Barry Lopez died after a long illness on Christmas Day in 2020. The previous summer, a wildfire had consumed much of what was dear to him in his home and the community around it – a tragic reminder of the climate change of which he’d long warned.
At once a cri de Coeur and a memoir of both pain and wonder, this remarkable collection of essays adds indelibly to Lopez’s legacy, and includes previously unpublished works, some written in the months before his death. They unspool memories, both personal and political, among them tender, sometimes painful stories of his childhood in New York and California, reports from expeditions to study animals and sea life, recollections of travels to Antarctica and other extraordinary places on earth, and meditations on finding oneself amid vast, dramatic landscapes. He reflects on those who taught him, including Indigenous elders and scientific mentors who sharpened his eye for the natural world. We witness poignant returns from his travels to the sanctuary of his Oregon backyard and in prose of searing candour, he reckons with the cycle of life, including own and – as he has done throughout his career – with the dangers the earth and its people are facing.
With an introduction by Rebecca Solnit that speaks to Lopez’s keen attention to the world, including its spiritual dimensions, Embrace Fearlessly the Burning World opens our minds and sounds to the important of being wholly present to the beauty and complexity of life.
Barry Lopez (1945–2020) was the author of various essay and story collections, including Arctic Dreams, which received the National Book Award. A frequent contributor to both American and foreign journals, Lopez was the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim, Lannan and National Science foundations and was honoured by numerous institutions for his literary, humanitarian and environmental work.
Rebecca Solnit is a writer, historian, and activist and the award-winning author of more than twenty books on feminism, Western and Indigenous history, popular power, social change and insurrection, wandering and walking, hope and disaster, including Call Them By Their True Names, Men Explain Things to Me, The Mother of All Questions, The Faraway Nearby Wanderlust: A History of Walking and Recollections of My Nonexistence.
'No one has worked harder to make sense of our present civilization.' Bill McKibben
‘To meet Barry was to feel we were entering a sphere where a language was spoken that had been fading away – the language of our inseparable connection with the natural world – yet here was a speaker who was renewing it.’ Margaret Atwood
'The world is vast, and so are the heart and the curiosity of Barry Lopez. His voice is incomparable and necessary.' David Quammen
'In his intensity, his clarity, and his capacity for wonder, Lopez is unmatched.' Elizabeth Gilbert