Margaret Renkl is my favorite essayist. Every week I look for her column in the opinion pages of the New York Times. In a time when the country has such deep divisions, I can rely on her writing to be all heart, no snark. I’m so proud to have this fellow Nashvillian’s newest collection on my shelf.— Karen Hayes Co-Owner, Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN
“Margaret Renkl’s essays alternate between balm for the soul and outrage at the world with all of its injustices. She makes me think and see things in a different light, and for that I’m eternally grateful.”
— Jayne Rowsam, Mystery to Me, Madison, WI
Winner of the 2022 Southern Book Prize
Winner of the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay
An Indie Next Selection for September 2021
A Book Marks Best Reviewed Essay Collection of 2021
A Literary Hub Most Anticipated Book of 2021
A Country Living Best Book of Fall 2022
A Garden & Gun Recommended Read for Fall 2021
A Book Marks Best Reviewed Book of September 2021
From the author of the bestselling #ReadWithJenna/TODAY Show book club pick Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss
For the past four years, Margaret Renkl's columns have offered readers of The New York Times a weekly dose of natural beauty, human decency, and persistent hope from her home in Nashville. Now more than sixty of those pieces have been brought together in this sparkling new collection.
"People have often asked me how it feels to be the 'voice of the South, '" writes Renkl in her introduction. "But I'm not the voice of the South, and no one else is, either." There are many Souths--red and blue, rural and urban, mountain and coast, Black and white and brown--and no one writer could possibly represent all of them. In Graceland, At Last, Renkl writes instead from her own experience about the complexities of her homeland, demonstrating along the way how much more there is to this tangled region than many people understand.
In a patchwork quilt of personal and reported essays, Renkl also highlights some other voices of the South, people who are fighting for a better future for the region. A group of teenagers who organized a youth march for Black Lives Matter. An urban shepherd whose sheep remove invasive vegetation. Church parishioners sheltering the homeless. Throughout, readers will find the generosity of spirit and deep attention to the world, human and nonhuman, that keep readers returning to her columns each Monday morning.
From a writer who "makes one of all the world's beings" (NPR), Graceland, At Last is a book full of gifts for Southerners and non-Southerners alike.