Katherine May is a British author of subtlety and patience, and this book of hers cannot help but awaken wonder in the reader. It is a memoir of her experiences of unlearning, in pilgrimage, at play, in flight, removing her shoes, and generally re-entering life with awe.
She writes beautifully. These are the opening lines: “Lately I wake in the night and a few panicked seconds pass in which I can’t locate myself. I could tell you my name, certainly, but not which version of me I’m dealing with.”
When she writes, “I increasingly feel that a part of me is missing,” and “When I want to describe how I feel right now, the word I reach for the most is 'discombobulated,' ” she writes for many people. It is difficult to imagine a reader who will not find help in these pages. In fact, Katherine May has the gift of diagnosing how we’re feeling in language we probably couldn’t find on our own:
“The last decade has filled so many of us with a growing sense of unreality. We seem trapped in a grind of constant change without ever getting the chance to integrate it. Those rolling news cycles, the chatter on social media, the way that our families have split along partisan lines; it feels as though we’ve undergone a halving, then a quartering, and now we are some kind of social rubble.”
She tells stories about rediscovering what’s beautiful and re-enchanting her life.
It isn’t often that two excellent books about wonder are published in the same month, but that has just happened, and we recommend both. Here is our review of the other, The Power of Wonder.