Date of this Version
In the tradition of the meditative essay, the writing of Robert Vivian begins with a mundane moment and, through the delicate workings of curiosity, contemplation, and inspiration, reveals unsuspected meaning. In his second collection of essays Vivian finds his occasions in midwestern towns and European cities. He looks for—and sometimes stumbles upon—the spiritual significance of circumstances and places and those who inhabit them, from the Jewish dead in a long-neglected cemetery in Poland to a dog slaughtered on a highway fronting the Black Sea to gunshots ringing out in rural Michigan. Again and again Vivian probes what such phenomena suggest about the times we live in—and what they share with every time that ever was.