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House of Steps: Finding the Path Home (Signed First Edition)

Amy Blackmarr

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ISBN 10: 0670882372 / ISBN 13: 9780670882373
Published by Viking, 1999
New Condition: New Hardcover
From Dan Pope Books (West Hartford, CT, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

New York: Viking [1999]. First edition. First printing. Hardbound. SIGNED BY AUTHOR on half-title page. New! A pristine unread copy. Very fine/very fine in all repsects. Comes with mylar dust jacket protector. Smoke free shop. All books shipped in sturdy box with bubble wrap. Bookseller Inventory # 10-06-29

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Bibliographic Details

Title: House of Steps: Finding the Path Home (...

Publisher: Viking

Publication Date: 1999

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:New

Dust Jacket Condition: New

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition...

About this title


For vicarious seekers of the simple life who loved Going to Ground, here are more graceful and pithy essays--from its author's move to a quirky habitat in rural Kansas.

"Lovely," said the Chicago Tribune of Going to Ground, which the Washington Post Book World called "by turns pert and engaging, musing and meditative . . . gives us the warmth of Amy Blackmarr's friendship, and the remarkable gift of watching her come to know herself. " Now Blackmarr returns from her granddaddy's old Georgia pond-side cabin to a northeast Kansas bluff and a tree-high house crazily cobbled into four floors of rocky walls, mazelike stairs, and drafts. Alone with her three dogs, she again weaves scenes from her past into reflections on the present, plucking from everyday life the bright gems of wonder and meaning in an extraordinary world.

In the vibrant midwestern silence, where far-off voices play alarming tricks at night, Blackmarr gets lost in the woods, battles wasps but refuses to step on roaches, takes in her third stray dog, frets over the "corruption" of her mother, confronts a blushing mailman with her Victoria's Secret catalog, collects bugs in a bowl, and confronts her own perfectionism. All teach her the deepest lessons about herself, her community, and her God. Like Kathleen Norris's The Cloister Walk and Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, House of Steps is an ode to "the remarkable and incorruptible process of living from day to ordinary day." Warm, lyrical, and gently ironic, it is Blackmarr's "clear space you can go back to and rest in on days when you can't put your feet on that ground."


There are dozens of "finding home" memoirs on the shelves these days, accounts by men and women who, tired of fast-lane life and following Henry Thoreau's footsteps, make for the countryside to raise barns, sheep, and families. Only a few of these well-intentioned autobiographies (notably Linda Hasselstrom's Feels Like Far) are set on the Great Plains, that huge, ego-deflating ocean of grass that runs from northern Canada to the Mexican border.

With House of Steps, Georgia-bred writer and radio commentator Amy Blackmarr stakes her literary claim to a little slice of the Plains, an old farm on the outskirts of Lawrence, Kansas. Her house, she writes, was "built by a flower child as the 1960s faded," and it's a ramshackle creation indeed, full of odd angles, staircases that lead to paralyzing heights (whence her title), and unmapped nooks and crannies--just the sort of place where a curious person could find plenty of ways to pass the time. In vignettes that betray their origins as radio sketches, Blackmarr recounts her days of getting to know the ways of the landscape, the passing seasons, the flora, and especially the fauna, among which prominently figure ill-tempered wasps, spiders, and field mice. Her memoir has many charms, including her meditation on the silence that accompanies a life alone in the far countryside, a life sometimes fraught with danger but more often laced with wonder. --Gregory McNamee

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