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Death of a Hornet: And Other Cape Cod Essays

Finch, Robert

27 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 1582430497 / ISBN 13: 9781582430492
Published by Counterpoint, Washington, D.C., 2000
Condition: Very Good + Hardcover
From Black Falcon Books (Wellesley, MA, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

First printing, stated; full number line. Signed by the author on the title page: "Robert Finch." Book is tight and unmarked; slightly cocked; faint foxing to top page edges. The dust jacket is not price-clipped (original price $24.00); some edgewear. Brodart protected. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 002840

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Death of a Hornet: And Other Cape Cod Essays

Publisher: Counterpoint, Washington, D.C.

Publication Date: 2000

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition:Very Good +

Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good +

Signed: Signed by Author

Edition: First Edition.

About this title

Synopsis:

Spanning more than twenty years, these essays record changes not only in the natural environment of Cape Cod, but in the writer's own life

"Robert Finch is one of our finest observers...I admire [his] essays very much for their strength, subtlety, and above all their geniality."
-Annie Dillard

"A first-rate nature writer [of] compassionate, quietly provocative essays."
-Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, New York Times

"A reflective observer whose verbal catalogs are reminiscent of Isak Dinesen."
-Time

Death of a Hornet is one man's elegant rendering of Cape Cod, a sandy, scrub-oaked, tough, and vulnerable spit of land reaching out into the Atlantic Ocean. Here are stories of "natural adventures" that readers of Finch's previous books have come to expect, as well as longer meditations on the future of the Cape's fragile environment, the experience of living in one place for a long time and having to leave it, and the limitations of human sympathy.

Review:

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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