Books & Essays
Entering the Stone: On Caves and Feeling Through the Dark
Mariner Books 2005
In this exhilarating work, Barbara Hurd explores some of the most extraordinary places on earth, from sacred caves in India to secret caves in Arizona. With passionately informed prose, Hurd makes these strange dark spaces -- with their stalactites and blind cave fish and ancient galleries of white flowstone -- come to light, illuminating the natural history and spiritual territory of caves as powerfully as Kathleen Norris portrayed the Dakotas. Entering the Stone provides an awe-inducing tour through a fragile and beautiful subterranean world.
Book Review #1:
Using a venerable literary device, Hurd explores her inner life through her fascination with caving. Her meditative, flowing prose pauses on sundry people and events in her life, which she illuminates through descriptions and comparisons with her physical surroundings in the subterranean world. Although they are the settings for her musings on vulnerability, solitude, or death, caves also scare Hurd: she opens with an account of a panic attack she once experienced while descending into one. She faced her fear and got right back to spelunking. She also gives rein to thoughts about her deceased father and faces up to the fact that one of her oldest friends is dying. Confessing to a natural reserve, Hurd explains that caves allow her to give in to emotional exuberance: in the dimness fading to darkness, she becomes an intimate perceiver of sound and shape and of the quietude of danger that caves present. Always, Hurd considers why caves draw her in, and though markedly digressive and personal, her essay reveals a questing spirit that will intrigue similarly contemplative readers. Gilbert Taylor Copyright ? American Library Association. All rights reserved
Stirring the Mud: On Swamps, Bogs, and Human Imagination
Mariner Books 2003