The Tiny Bee That Hovers at the Center of the World

Random. Jul. 2021. 208p. ISBN 9780593133644. pap. $17. MEMOIR
Arcosanti, Arizona. Summer cicadas. Snapshots of Mars. Road trips. Impact craters. Roadside attractions on old, fabled Route 66. Searcy (Shame and Wonder) follows the desert roads of the American southwest, on a quest for meaning, which he arrives at from oblique angles. The internal dialogue within this wide-ranging work is so conversational in tone that it flows like a stream of consciousness. Searcy makes connections between seemingly disjointed objects, sometimes only manifest decades after an experience. This rambling philosopher finds beauty and mystery in the subtle. The desert landscape of the Southwest becomes another world, one dotted with impact craters, one otherwise unknown by anything but telescopes. The ordinary becomes sublime. The text is poetic and artistic. While many readers may find the text difficult to follow, readers of literary nonfiction will appreciate Searcy’s unique style. Many will connect with Searcy’s images of a bygone United States—Route 66; Monopoly homes in the suburbs—that is in itself almost a dreamscape now.
VERDICT A dreamlike, wandering meditation on place and memory. Readers of literature or poetic prose will enjoy riding along paths of the Southwest and wondering about bygone eras with Searcy.
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