A Solemn Pleasure; To Imagine, Witness, and Write.

Author:Trask, Sheila M.
Position:Book review

Melissa Pritchard; A SOLEMN PLEASURE; Bellevue Literary Press (Nonfiction: Language Arts) 16.95 ISBN: 9781934137963

Byline: Sheila M. Trask

From grief to daily rituals to the shape of a dachshund, Pritchard insightfully connects the most obscure of subjects to reveal gems of truth about the human experience.

The wide range of topics Melissa Pritchard addresses in her essay collection, A Solemn Pleasure, may at first seem unrelated to one another. What, after all, does a miniature dachshund in the swimming pool have in common with a young woman on the battlefield in Afghanistan? How does American literary criticism relate to the plight of a Sudanese refugee? The author herself is the keystone here as Pritchard celebrates the writer as witness to all that life offers, from the mundane to the silly to the profound.

Pritchard has truly seen and written about the gamut of human experience, both as an imaginative fiction writer and a fearless journalist. If there's a prize for fiction, she's probably won it; she has received the Flannery O'Connor Award and the Pushcart Prize, among many others. She's written for the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and the Nation.

This collection of previously published essays demonstrates how a writer's...

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