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Publish Date: May 2015
The World Is On Fire
Scrap, Treasure, and Songs of Apocalypse
BY Joni Tevis
Marked by the end-times sermons of her Southern youth, Joni Tevis has spent her life both haunted by and drawn to visions of apocalypse: Nuclear fallout, economic collapse, personal tragedy. This collection follows the pilgrimage she undertook to put her childhood dread to rest. Standing at Buddy Holly’s memorial in the middle of a farmer’s field recalls Doom Town—the model American suburb built in the Nevada desert to measure the devastation of a nuclear bomb. Wandering the abandoned shop floors of shuttered factories in her hometown conjures landscapes submerged by flooding. And her visceral experience of remote Alaskan wilderness merges into a meditation on the sublime instinctual joy, as well as the unutterable sorrow, that can result from a woman carrying a child in her body.
Tevis builds these essays with the raw materials of our world—nails and beams, dirt and stone, bones and blood—and fills them with the essence of our popular culture: Liberace’s trills, Freddy Mercury’s pleas, and Buddy Holly’s hypnotic gaze. What results is a whole empowered by the richness and deep interconnection of its parts: In courageously facing up to the worst that may befall us, she has created a living testament to the promise and necessity of death and rebirth.
BEYOND THE BOOK
- Listen to Come Walk With Me, an invitation to The World is on Fire
OTHER BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR:
“Tevis’s writing, a showcase for her interests in religion, memoir, natural study and women’s history, is precise and unique.”
“Tevis illuminates the dim corners of memory as she draws attention to the fragile connection between human beings and the mysteries that surround us.”— Diane Wilson
“An innovative young writer deeply immersed in literary tradition.”— Mark Doty
Praise for The World is On Fire:
“Tevis zealously interrogates emblems of apocalypse: deserts, atomic bombs, and the book of Revelation. This astute essayist notices everything. With these atmospheric, offbeat essays, Tevis rivals Barbara Kingsolver, Rebecca Solnit, John Jeremiah Sullivan, and Terry Tempest Williams.”— Foreword Reviews
“Evocative essays on faith, life and wonder. In these lyrical, finely crafted pieces, like poets Gerard Manley Hopkins and Mary Oliver, Tevis sees the natural world imbued with spiritual power. "A strange glow marks this seam between life and death," she says. That seam glows fiercely, startlingly bright, in these rich, revelatory essays.”— Kirkus