The Black Swan: Memory, Midlife, and Migration (Google eBook)

Front Cover
Simon and Schuster, Oct 5, 2001 - Biography & Autobiography - 192 pages
3 Reviews
Set against a spontaneous cross-country road trip following the migrating birds, this passionate, lyrical memoir is one woman's reflections on midlife, her important personal relationships, her kaleidoscopic past, and her uncertain future.
To fifty-six-year-old Anne Batterson, a woman whose life has been filled with adventure -- as a commercial pilot, an international skydiving champion, a trekking guide in Nepal -- her husband's decision to retire felt like a death sentence. Yearning for some way to reconcile herself to the future that was rapidly unfolding before her, she packed up her VW camper and hit the road with maps, bird guides, and little else except the desire to follow the fall migration and the bone-deep hunch that birds had something important to teach her.
In this beautifully written narrative of that extraordinary trip, Batterson writes movingly not only about her experiences with the birds but also about the people she loves, has lost, and connects with along the way. Events from the present trigger vivid stories from the past. In the chapter "The Journey Within the Journey," a long, lonely night in a deserted campground in Virginia conjures up the ghosts of a desperate solo road trip she made when she was twenty-one. A towering cumulus cloud in Illinois brings back a breathtaking free fall into a similar cloud in "My Time as a Bird." An encounter with a great blue heron summons a compelling account of her mother's last afternoon in the world. "Bears in the Woods" describes a run-in with two Deliverance-type men in West Virginia, which brings back the murder of a dear friend in the woods of Connecticut.
By the end of the journey, the ghosts of the past, like the author herself, have become part of a more fluid, more spiritual reality -- wild and spare and elegant and timeless -- one that is always out there, "quickening on the far side of reality."
A unique mix of memoir and nature writing, The Black Swan is a charming story of a woman's odyssey.
  

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The black swan: memory, midlife, and migration

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Much is expected from a book sharing both title and theme with Thomas Mann's unforgettable pre-feminist novel about woman's fear of aging (The Black Swan, 1952). Unfortunately, Batterson's double ... Read full review

Review: The Black Swan: Memory, Midlife, and Migration

User Review  - Gillian Marchenko - Goodreads

I just finished this book for my montly memoir class. Although there were many gorgeous chunks of lyrical prose, I found myself left with wanting more when I closed the book. Read full review

Contents

Authors Note
11
Acknowledgments
13
The Restlessness
17
Just Going
25
Aloft
31
Solo
37
Dead Reckoning
42
The Journey Within the Journey
49
Winging It in the Cosmos
98
Winging It in Kansas
100
In the Time of the Birds
104
Intervals
114
The Night Sea Journey
119
On the Road Again
132
Sea Change
137
Scripts
147

The Great Blue Heron
56
The Rapture and the Fear
64
The White Rabbit
74
Bears in the Woods
84
My Time as a Bird
93
The Crams
153
Shot Down
158
Homing
164
The Black Swan
168
Copyright

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Page 6 - The way we are living, timorous or bold, will have been our life the proverbial terseness of which gets at the stark truth at the core of Dante's vision.

About the author (2001)

Formerly a national and international skydiving champion, Anne Batterson is a writer, wife, and mother. A dedicated rock climber, she has also been a flight instructor and charter pilot, has guided treks in Nepal, and has taught literature, writing, and humanities courses at the University of Hartford.

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