Believers: Making a Life at the End of the World
Lisa Wells (Author)
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
July 20, 2021
5.4 X 8.3 X 1.4 inches | 0.97 pounds
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About the Author
Lisa Wells is a poet and nonfiction writer from Portland, Oregon. Her debut collection of poetry, The Fix, won the Iowa Poetry Prize. Her poems and essays have been published by The New York Times, Harper's Magazine, Granta, The Believer, n+1, The Iowa Review, The Poetry Foundation, and others. She lives in Seattle and is an editor for The Volta and Letter Machine Editions.
An Observer Best Book of the Summer"Believers . . . grapples with the question of how to go forward in the shadow of endings -- not only our own, but the endings of species and ecosystems, of cultures and of language . . . The question is not of what we face but how we can face it bravely and creatively."
--Lydia Millet, Los Angeles Times "Wells offers no pat prescriptions for nurturing 'lived relationships with water and plants and soil'--only an ardent hope that humans will persist in 'fighting and reconciling and reaching across the divide of mutual misapprehension' to save their world. An urgent message gently conveyed."
--Kirkus Reviews "Wells takes heart in the human tendency to tell and make sense of our lives through storytelling... Although she preserves a sense of hope for a better world, this blend of reportage, history, philosophy, and memoir is no rosy prescriptive narrative. Rather, Wells notes, 'there is a surplus of terror and delusion in the ether, but spare few visions of how you and I, relatively ordinary people, might live otherwise. I believe the future of the world depends on those visions.'"
--Lauren LeBlanc, Observer "[An] effective blend of reportage and memoir... The resulting chronicle of environmental crises and the often radical actions some are taking to combat them is freshly informative and thought-provoking."
--Colleen Mondor, Library Journal "Wells's prose, rooted in her poetry, gives her a unique advantage when writing about living through this unstable moment in history."
--Andru Okun, High Country News "Shocking and vivid... [Wells's] descriptions of climate change capture the harsh reality of devastation... Climate-minded readers should take note of this roving account of perseverance."
--Publishers Weekly "We are living in an extreme moment, and one where it's very hard to know what effective action looks like against crises of a scale we've not before encountered. These accounts of people trying to grapple with that reality are sometimes inspiring and often cautionary, and always a spur to thinking about how the rest of us might accomplish the most we can."
--Bill McKibben, author of Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out? "Believers is meticulously researched and reasoned and lays out a vast and sophisticated vision like no other writer since Charles Bowden. If some measure of a book's importance is the noise it makes when it falls in the forest, this project reminds me of The Empathy Exams, by Leslie Jamison, for the conversations that will surely follow. An essential document of our time."
--Charles D'Ambrosio, author of Loitering "Everyone who lives on this earth needs to read this book. Lisa Wells is whip-smart and insightful, taking us along on her quest to find another way to be. We grow with her, immersed in the poignant, hopeful, and heartbreaking stories of people she meets as she attempts to answer what has been her life's refrain: How shall we live?"
--Tessa Fontaine, author of The Electric Woman "This adventurous and outlandish book asks us to imagine a relationship to the land that precedes human memory, an act that requires us to shed our idealism in favor of a more radical leap of faith. In that wild leap it arrives, miraculously, a few steps down the path to wisdom."
--Maurice Manning, author of Railsplitter "Lisa Wells's writing is brilliant; her conclusions are profound. If you can take only one book with you while wading through the wreckage of the Anthropocene, this is the one."
--Kate Lebo, author of The Book of Difficult Fruit