I’ve read hundreds of forewords introducing new books. I’ve skipped many many (many) hundreds more to get to the story. And, then, there was this one:
Like all great writers, Pritchard has no interest in providing answers. Rather, she strives only to articulate the questions in a manner that the readers can hear. Her aim is never to convey information, but only and powerfully to relay experiences – experiences that are poignant and devastating, familiar and extraordinary, inspiring and gutting. Individually, each of these essays confirms that to write is to think and feel, to take park in the profound and sacred act of witness. Read together – and the book is so arresting that many readers will finish it in a single sitting – the essays amount to a clear and irrefutable mandate for empathy. […]
As you read A Solemn Pleasure, notice how often you find yourself leaning toward the pages. I did so often my neck hurt. The pain was minor, but persistent. In fact, this ache – like each of the powerful essays – is still with me. It’s a reminder. Each time it flares, I remember one of Pritchard’s trenchant sentences. No matter which sentence I recall, it translates to the author beckoning. Look here, she’s saying. Come closer. I’ve got something to show you. Something you need to see.