Friday, September 6, 2013

Julia Keller

Julia Keller was born and raised in West Virginia, and now lives in Chicago and Ohio. In her career as a journalist, she won the Pulitzer Prize for a three-part series she wrote for the Chicago Tribune about a small town in Illinois rocked by a deadly tornado. Her new novel, Bitter River, follows 2012's A Killing in the Hills, her first mystery.

A couple of weeks ago I asked the author about what she was reading.  Keller's reply:
Last year I read an excerpt from The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot (Viking Penguin) by Robert Macfarlane in Granta magazine, and was knocked sideways by its beauty, its erudition, its rousing challenge to the sedentary. I'm ashamed to say that it took me a very long time to go get the book itself. I finally did, and am now embarked upon it once more, and am -- once more -- mesmerized, besotted, exhilarated, intrigued, startled, and charmed. The book is a sort of travel journal that recounts Macfarlane's excursions from his home in Cambridge, England, to various points on the compass -- but it's so much more than that as well. It's a poetic but information-rich meditation on movement and change, on landscapes and love, on the ancient and the modern, on what lasts and what doesn't. "The eye is enticed by a path," Macfarlane notes. He's gone down this road before -- the road of creating a luminous book, that is, as readers of his earlier work The Wild Places can attest -- but The Old Ways is even better. "I imagine the Earth seen from an altitude so impossibly great that retrospect is possible as well as prospect," Macfarlane writes, "and that the prints of millennia of human walking are visible, the shimmering foil of our species." This is the sort of book destined to be shoved in a backpack at first light, after which you tie your shoes and double-check the map and step off the front porch.
Visit Julia Keller's website.

Writers Read: Julia Keller (September 2012).

--Marshal Zeringue