I’m not sure where you would find this collection of essays shelved in bookstores. The pieces deal with nature, cosmology, and the world of fables, often blurred together into a satisfying whole. But perhaps it should be shelved in the poetry section as her accounts of the natural sciences reads like the finest prose. I found myself marveling every few paragraphs over the inventiveness of her wordplay.
This book is a rich dessert and is best sampled in small doses. Each of the twenty-six essays is just the right size to be consumed in a single sitting. While whimsical in nature, one comes away with a better understanding of the natural world, the universe, and humankind as well. Except for one brief instance, the author does not insert her own voice into any of the essays. Rather, the observant narrator seems an omnipotent presence.
The reader is guaranteed to encounter words no dictionary has ever cataloged, but on the tongue (and mentally) they delight nonetheless. Examples include mouldywarps, sagittaries, starflakes, vasty, argle-bargle, and Crocodilopolis. For the serious writer, reading these essays will inspire and also humble. Amy Leach’s prose is so sumptuous, thoughtful, and inventive that an author is sure to wonder how dare they try to compete. It is the rare dessert that proves to also be nutritious.
Thank you to Robert Koehler for this book review.