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Death of a Hornet and Other Cape Cod Essays

Finch, Robert

28 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 1582430497 / ISBN 13: 9781582430492
Published by Counterpoint, Washington, 2000
Condition: Fine copy in fine dust jacket Hardcover
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8vo, 270 pp., Inscribed & signed by the author on the title page. Bookseller Inventory # 060043

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Death of a Hornet and Other Cape Cod Essays

Publisher: Counterpoint, Washington

Publication Date: 2000

Binding: hardcover

Book Condition:Fine copy in fine dust jacket

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st edition.

About this title


Essays on the natural history of the Cape Cod region document changes in the environment, and in the author's life.


Cape Cod, Massachusetts, like every other place, is but a small corner of the planet. Yet it contains multitudes, as the nature writer and editor Robert Finch demonstrates in this lively set of essays. In the title piece, which opens the book, he muses on a fellow occupant of his study, a spider that, one day, does in a yellow hornet that has incautiously wandered into her web. There is no cruelty in the spider's act, Finch notes, only a quiet affirmation of the unsentimental ways of nature, in which death follows and even presupposes life. Other essays consider the unhappy fortunes of a beached whale, one that evidently had not found enough to eat at a crucial stage in its growth; the comings and goings of migratory birds and bats; the movement of sand dunes; the falling of autumn leaves; and the eternal power of the ocean. In limning the landscapes of Cape Cod, shaped by humans as much as by the sea, Finch shows that one need not wander into the wilderness to find nature in abundance; his gentle reflections on the small details of daily life are models of compression and careful observation.

Although some of the essays are tinged with melancholy--as befits any consideration of matters of life and death, and of the passage of the years--they collectively celebrate a place that has captured the hearts of many, and will long do so. Or, as Finch writes, "How lucky are we who live in proximity to such a landscape, that has such easy powers to lift us out of our narrow lives and self-made blinders, and so seduce us into seeing who we really are!" --Gregory McNamee

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