cover image Dusk Night Dawn: On Revival and Courage

Dusk Night Dawn: On Revival and Courage

Anne Lamott. Riverhead, $20 (224p) ISBN 978-0-593-18969-6

Bestseller Lamott (Almost Everything) explores the relationships between personal anxieties and larger social concerns in these quiet, often darkly humorous reflections. Citing recent “crushing developments” in UN reports on the effects of climate change and mass extinctions, Lamott wonders how to have faith and take joy in a world on the brink of disaster. “Salvation,” she writes, “will be local, grassroots,” and manifested through loving acts between individuals. Concentrating on being more intentional and focusing on small changes in one’s personal life, she writes, allows hope to grow and to serve as the first step to larger societal changes. Lamott argues that people too often block themselves from love through perfectionism, self-loathing, cowardice, and the fear of being vulnerable with others. She also weighs in on domestic matters, including problems both weighty (alcoholism) and trivial (how one’s new spouse does the laundry). To her credit, Lamott turns a pessimistic mindset on its head with the difficult question: “What holds when you and your family are walking toward extinction?” Her answer: kindness, humility, words of love, and stories of when the worst seemed possible, but it turned out okay. Lamott’s many fans will enjoy this ode to relishing small things. (Mar.)