At the very beginning of this slim volume of essays, author and editor O'Grady (Literature and the Environment) defines the phrase "grave goods" as "objects placed with the deceased on burial," which may include "provisions for the spirit." This last element appears central to the author's intent here. He builds each essay around one or more unusual and entertaining anecdotes, such as an adventure from his college days at the University of Maine at Orono ("Tales of Virginia Dare") or a cemetery removal project in San Francisco ("Grave Goods"). O'Grady then combines underlying themes of spiritual inquiry with his love of nature and his respect for those writers who previously addressed similarly interwoven themes, such as Henry David Thoreau and Aldo Leopold. Recommended for larger public libraries and academic libraries with extensive writing collections. Angela Weiler, SUNY at Morrisville
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"Grave Goods is highly serious light reading. It is ‘light’ because it illuminates and because it never takes itself as seriously as its serious subjects. John O’Grady, like any fine scientist, is a first-rate observer. Like any fine writer he makes invisible links between disparate objects and perceptions visible. Reading this book is like walking through the world with a highly knowledgeable naturalist-poet-philosopher. I don’t know your taste in journeys, but this book is mine."—Peter Coyote, poet and actor
"John O'Grady is the cream of the next generation of American nature writers. While he is new and experimental and all of that, the pleasure of reading O'Grady's work resides where it always has in any fine writer: engaging the intelligence and imagination of another person through the medium of language. In O'Grady's case, the intelligence is both rigorous and wide-ranging, the imagination downright wild, and all expressed with a wit that arcs between sweetly goofy and canine sharp. Grave Goods is the real goods, natural as a six and five."—Jim Dodge, author of Fup and Not Fade Away
"Grave Goods is a first-rate collection, revealing not only the surprising connections between ordinary things, but their metaphysical and philosophical implications as well. His stories, though rooted in everyday reality, stretch our imaginations toward the fantastic and the supernatural."—John Algeo, editor of The Quest
"This book is good company, primed with curiosity, energized with irony. You walk and talk with it."—Edward Hoagland, author of Tigers and Ice: Reflections on Nature and Life