Words and Worlds: From Autobiography to Zippers

Delphinium. May 2019. 240p. ISBN 9781883285784. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781504055611. ESSAYS
OrangeReviewStarThis wise and wonderful compilation, containing 21 essays from Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Lurie (Foreign Affairs), begins by describing the author's years as a young mother and writer: "I had published two children, but my two novels were born dead." Lurie goes on to recall her interest in theater, "a world apart with its own language, history, and culture," and explore the contributions of her contemporaries who are "deliberately producing work that is intended to be taken apart and studied rather than read and enjoyed." Lurie then critically examines original fairy tales in comparison to their Disney versions. The piece "Witches Old and New" provides a compact history of "worshipers of a female deity." Children's literature also falls under Lurie's deft eye with interpretations of the tales of Babar the elephant, Narnia, and Harry Potter. The collection concludes with a look at fashion and the joy of wearing whatever we like best.
VERDICT Highly recommended for Lurie's fans and admirers of the essay genre.

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