A Slender Thread : Rediscovering Hope at the Heart of Crisis

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9780679448778: A Slender Thread : Rediscovering Hope at the Heart of Crisis
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his astonishing book by the prizewinning, bestselling author of A Natural History of the Senses reveals Ackerman's parallel lives as an observer of the wildlife in her garden and as a telephone crisis counselor. "(Ackerman) brings a luminous and illuminating combination of sensuality, science, and speculation to whatever she considers."--San Francisco Examiner.

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Review:

Diane Ackerman has generally turned her unusual sensitivity to consideration of the natural world and the human experience of it. In A Slender Thread, she journeys down a vastly different road, describing her involvement with a telephone crisis center in the college town where she lives. The callers want her to talk them out of suicide, and their fear and sadness is a weight she at first has trouble bearing gracefully.

"It's no bother. That's why we're here," I say, trying not to sound dutiful or perfunctory. I want him to stay calm, but I also want him to feel comfortable about calling. As usual, I wish I had more control over my voice, wish I could sculpt its nuances so that, regardless of the exact words I used, the tone would tell a caller like this one, You're not alone. We're here to help you, or, if help is impossible, at least to understand. I think it's possible to insinuate your emotions into your voice wholeheartedly like that, to speak sentences charged with pure emotion, as if they were part of an opera in which indecipherable words float on waves of heart-stirring and meaningful music. I just can't figure out how best to do it.

Ackerman explores human despair as she would a magnificent cavern, always moving toward the light of understanding. Highly recommended.

About the Author:

Diane Ackerman has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction in addition to garnering many other awards and recognitions for her work, which include the bestselling The Zookeeper’s Wife and A Natural History of the Senses. She lives in Ithaca, New York.

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