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Savage Grace

A Journey in Wildness
Paperback Book
Publisher: 
Counterpoint
 | 
March, 2015
ISBN:
9781619024656
In stock now: 
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Banyen's Description: 

Jay Griffiths is a tour guide for anyone who has ever wished to commune with the side of our human psyche that remains in touch with the wild. Equally at home among the “sea gypsy” Bajo people who live off the coast of Thailand and forage their food from the ocean floor, drinking the psychedelic ayahuasca plant brew with Amazonian shamans, or joining an Inuit whale hunt at the northern tip of Canada, Griffiths takes readers on an adventure both charted and un-chartable.

She divides her meditations on these travels into sections named after the ancient elemental properties of the universe—Earth, Air, Fire, Ice, and Water—because her subject matter is not merely the places traveled to but the depths of mind and the cultural narratives revealed by place. It is a universal story told of far-flung groups of humans, with vastly different ways of life, connected through the varied wilderness that sustains them. By describing the ways in which human societies and the human mind have developed in response to the wilder elements of our homelands, Savage Grace reveals itself as a benediction for the emotional, intellectual, and physical nourishment that people continue to draw from the natural world.

Wildness erupts with the raw carnival of comedy, laughing its socks off, grace notes galore, honouring the erotic. For wildness is flagrantly sexual—the longest passion of all species, the longing of the daffodil for the spring sun, the thirsting of all roots for water, the sensual relationship between humanity and nature, humming with it, earthy to the core.
 

To me, humanity is not a stain on wilderness, as some seem to think. Rather the human spirit is one of the most striking realizations of wildness. It is as eccentrically beautiful as an ice crystal, as liquidly life-generous as water, as inspired as air. Kernelled up within us all, an intimate wildness, sweet as a nut. To the rebel soul in everyone, then, the right to wear feathers, drink stars and ask for the moon…
 

We are—every one of us—a force of nature, though sometimes it is necessary to relearn consciously what we have never forgotten; the truant art, the nomad heart.

An utter wonder of a book, vulnerable, ferocious and elegiac, a polyphonic fugue written in a style that for once matches the intensity of its topic. Luminously awake, politically astute, without a doubt Savage Grace is the expression of a uniquely capacious intelligence, the song of a heart pulsing with compassion for divergent places and creatures as they weather the insanity of contemporary civilization. Her keen attunement to the music of language—and to the rootedness of words in the more-than-human soundscape—enlivens this work with a magic that provokes the involvement of all one’s senses. It’s a deliciously erotic read.” —David Abram, author of Becoming Animal

Publisher’s Description: 

Jay Griffiths is a tour guide for anyone who has ever wished to commune with the side of our human psyche that remains in touch with the wild. Equally at home among the "sea gypsy" Bajo people who live off the coast of Thailand and forage their food from the ocean floor, drinking the psychedelic ayahuasca plant with Amazonian shamans, or joining an Inuit whale hunt at the northern tip of Canada, Griffiths takes readers on an adventure both charted and un-chartable. She divides her meditationson these travels into sections named after the ancient elemental properties of the universe-Earth, Air, Fire, Ice, and Water-because her subject matter is not merely the places traveled to but the depths of mind and the cultural narratives revealed by place. It is a universal story told of far-flung groups of humans, with vastly different ways of life, connected through the varied wilderness that sustains them. By describing the ways in which human societies and the human mind have developed in response to the wilder elements of our homelands, Savage Grace reveals itself as a benediction for the emotional, intellectual, and physical nourishment that people continue to draw from the natural world. Under the sway of Griffiths' charisma, her poetic prose, and her deeply learned and persuasive case for the wild roots of our shared human being, we learn that we are all, each and every one of us, a force of nature.

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