Fire and Stone
Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?

Priscilla Long

How science leads us toward discoveries about the human condition

Reviews

“Lucky for us, Priscilla Long fancied herself a thinker from a young age. In Fire and Stone, she displays a lifetime’s scintillating affair with science and with the arts and letters, on topics as varied as genomes and banjos and Neanderthals. Beyond autobiography, Long suggests ways we might discover who we are for ourselves. Her collection is an inspiration, dense with layers of invention and mystery and sparkling with her wise heart.”
—Sonya Lea, author of Wondering Who You Are: A Memoir

“I have always thought of Priscilla Long as a science writer, one who explains the most fundamental and difficult processes of science in lucid and elegant prose. But Fire and Stone shows me that science is just one aspect of her exploration of the deepest questions related to her self and to our selves. She is finally a philosophical writer, one who employs science, history, autobiography, and her fine literary sensibility in an engaging search for meaning.”
—Robert Wilson, editor of the American Scholar


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Description

The questions that drive Priscilla Long’s Fire and Stone are the questions asked by the painter Paul Gauguin in the title of his 1897 painting: Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? These questions look beyond everyday trivialities to ponder the essence of our origins.

Using her own story as a touchstone, Long explores our human roots and how they shape who we are today. Her personal history encompasses childhood as an identical twin on a dairy farm on the Eastern Shore of Maryland; the turmoil, social change, and music of the 1960s; the suicide of a sister; and a life in art in the Pacific Northwest. Here, memoir extends the threads of the writer’s individual and very personal life to science, to history, and to ancestors, both literary and genetic, back to the Neanderthals.

Long uses profoundly poetic personal essays to draw larger connections and to ask compelling questions about identity. Framed by four distinctive sections, Fire and Stone transcends genre and evolves into a sweeping elegy on what it means to be human.

Series/imprint:
Crux: The Georgia Series in Literary Nonfiction

Page count: 156 pp.
Trim size: 5.5 x 8.5

 



Paper
List price: $24.95
978-0-8203-5044-8
10/01/16

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Priscilla Long is a Seattle-based writer, writing teacher, and editor. She is the author of Crossing Over: Poems, The Writer’s Portable Mentor: A Guide to Art, Craft, and the Writing Life, and Where the Sun Never Shines: A History of America’s Bloody Coal Industry.