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Leap Paperback – Sep 18 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (Sept. 18 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679752579
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679752578
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 12.1 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #603,054 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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I once lived near the shores of Great Salt Lake with no outlet to the sea. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Paperback
Terry Tempest Williams is first and foremost a naturalist. I say this not out of some secret biological knowledge of her, but simply as an extrapolation from her own writings. In her book REFUGE, she focuses on birds and the wild life preserve around the Great Salt Lake. The personal life bleeds out of the story of the natural in a way as to make the two seamless... and they are. In LEAP, Williams focuses her attention on the great triptych by Heronymous Bosch (El Bosco) - 'The Garden of Delights'. The triptych represents the three states of human (animal) existence as dictated by early Christian doctrine: Eden, Earth, and Hell. In each, human forms are involved - with an assortment of nearly unrecognizable creatures - in all manner of lewd, sensate, or holy activities. The painting perhaps is - for a naturalist like Williams - an unignorable bridge to a sort of philosophical incantation of one's own personal life.
Though the book is told in four distinct parts, there is little cohesion. Each of the first holds some resemblance to the corresponding frame of the triptych it is supposed to represent, but not effectively enough to be truly meaningful. Essentially, I detected three distinct modes of writing scattered unpredictably throughout the book: an anecdotal style dedicated to Bosch and 'el Prado' (the museum in which it is housed) related activities, confessionals of the author's past and experiences, and an unexpurgated glut of rambling free-style writing that I guess is supposed to be philosophical or poetic, but is just sophomoric. It isn't difficult to find TTW's strengths. When speaking of nature - real nature, not the nature of the painting - her talents soar. Sadly, these moments are few and far between.
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By A Customer on Aug. 11 2000
Format: Hardcover
You need not being a devoted fan of Terry Tempest Williams or Bosch, but you must abandon all thoughts of literary "tradition" while you read this. She's breaking tradition, linear thought, and countless other rules we associate with great writing. But if you open yourself--there is pure brilliance behind those pages. Passion behind her words.
Leap places a powerful grip on the reader as Williams takes you through the panels of the triptic, through her life and the life of the painting. What does it mean to surrender to your passions? An inquisitive look at at painting that will turn you inside out, take you in circles, through heaven and hell and somewhere along the way, you'll find restoration.
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By A Customer on Aug. 2 2000
Format: Hardcover
When do we ever take the time to stop and smell the roses, or to indulge our obsessions, or to give our inner voice the time it deserves? This author did all those things, and then went a step further in getting her observations and insights down. She's a smart and introspective writer and my mind is whirling from her journey with the painting. This is a risky book... she admits we may find her crazy, and I did at times. But being in her wild, cerebral, artistic zone was not boring or banal... this book is not a superficial beach read. It made me want to look harder and deeper at the world around me and to listen with attentive ears. Bravo! Bravo!
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By A Customer on July 27 2000
Format: Hardcover
After recently reading the powerful memoir Refuge, I was eager to read Leap, but I was very disappointed. I guess I was expecting some profound insights into the painting by Bosch and Tempest Williams' interesting religious background, but instead, I found myself reliving a night school creative writing class experience I took years ago. For example:
"What am I not hearing? A loss of sight. What am I not seeing? Becoming numb. The dismantling of the self."
The writing in this book is terrible--it literally made my stomach turn. In fact, the scenes of "Hell" in the painting in the appendix were more palatable than the writing. Hopefully the apparent lack of interest in this book will motivate Tempest Williams to actively improve her considerable writing skills, focus more on her loyal audience, and develop a sense of humor--this gifted woman takes herself much too seriously.
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