The Book of Delights
The life-affirming New York Times bestseller
- 4,49 €
- 4,49 €
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
As Heard on NPR's This American Life
'The delights he extols here (music, laughter, generosity, poetry, lots of nature) are bulwarks against casual cruelties . . . contagious in their joy' New York Times
The winner of the NBCC Award for Poetry offers up a spirited collection of short lyric essays, written daily over a tumultuous year, reminding us of the purpose and pleasure of praising, extolling, and celebrating ordinary wonders.
Among Gay's funny, poetic, philosophical delights: a friend's unabashed use of air quotes, cradling a tomato seedling aboard an aeroplane, the silent nod of acknowledgement between the only two black people in a room. But Gay never dismisses the complexities, even the terrors, of living in America as a black man or the ecological and psychic violence of our consumer culture or the loss of those he loves. More than anything other subject, though, Gay celebrates the beauty of the natural world - his garden, the flowers peeking out of the sidewalk, the hypnotic movements of a praying mantis.
The Book of Delights is about our shared bonds, and the rewards that come from a life closely observed. These remarkable pieces serve as a powerful and necessary reminder that we can, and should, stake out a space in our lives for delight.
'These charming, digressive "essayettes" surprise and challenge more than a reader might expect . . . experiences of "delight," recorded daily for a year, vary widely but yield revealing patterns through insights about everything from nature and the body to race and masculinity.' New Yorker
'Pure balm for your soul. Savor one at a time every morning, this summer, or wolf them all down en masse on a gorgeous sunny day.' Celeste Ng
'A reminder of what the personal essay is best at: finding the profound in the mundane . . . His delight is infectious. It's hard to read Gay and not to be won over.' Seattle Times
Poet Gay (Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude) forays into prose with this collection of stirring, thought-provoking "essayettes" on the ways and means of delight. Spanning a year between Gay's 42nd and 43rd birthdays, the 102 pieces each one dated cover widely varied subject matter, including high-fiving strangers, nicknames, the movie Ghost, trains, and much more. "I am ultimately interested in joy," Gay declares, adding, "I am curious about the relationship between pleasure and delight." While "the pleasant, the delightful, are not universal," he also hypothesizes that "delight grows as we share it." But cataloguing delight isn't his sole motivation; from the opening entry, Gay challenges popular conceptions of masculinity, blackness, and the kinds of writing expected of black male authors, making explicit in one piece that for an African-American writer to focus on delight runs counter to a culture more accustomed to the "commodification of black suffering." Throughout, Gay presents himself as fallibly human rather than authoritative, capable of profundity and banality alike. One's reception of his work will depend on personal temperament; readers may be convinced of Gay's delight without necessarily sharing it. Nonetheless, he is a remarkable expositor of the positive, and his writings serve as reminders "of something deeply good in us."