Medieval bestiaries were instructional works gathered from the fables and tales told by travelers. They described beasts and fish and fowl that few had ever seen. For the characters in Christina Adam's Any Small Thing Can Save You, each animal that passes through their world reflects a measured truth about love---between a husband and wife, a child and a parent, a brother and sister, at a moment of danger or discovery.
Like the richest classical paintings, the entries in this engaging bestiary treat those unexpected moments when we are suddenly awakened from our daily routines, surprised and restored by the beauty of the natural world and our capacity for love within it. Any Small Thing Can Save You casts a wise eye on the kinds of simple intimacies we all long for, and on the truest opportunities for real salvation.
Artfully designed, Any Small Thing Can Save You is truly a gift.
A is for ASP
When she taught Latin in high school, her students had performed an elaborate skit that ended with the death of Cleopatra, stung by an asp. The cast found every opportunity and application for the word "asp," with Milton-like s's--that soft susurrus--hissing out into the audience, held as long as possible before the final p. Twenty years later, Helena still laughed to think of where, anatomically speaking, the Latin club had located the fatal strike, but in fact, she was terrified of snakes. When she and her husband had fixed fences on the ranch, it was the one thing she found comforting: At that altitude, there were no snakes. It was never necessary, even in tall grass and weeds, to watch where they were going.
When they retired and moved south to New Mexico, the neighbors cautioned them not to water at night, a practice that brought snakes down from the desert. They were to watch for the wedge-shaped head of a rattler, and listen for the dry, warning sound. ...
If you liked Any Small Thing Can Save You, try these:
In this superb collection of short stories, Berg takes us into the times in women's lives when memories and events cohere to create a sense of wholeness, understanding, and change.
Sometimes grave, occasionally hilarious, and ultimately persuasive, Small Wonder is a hopeful examination of the people we seem to be, and what we might yet make of ourselves.
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The Angel of Losses
"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist
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