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This collection of 26 essays is a look about the universe which begins with swimming salmon and ends with the starry sky. From the tiniest Earth dwellers to far-flung celestial bodies – considering everything from the similarity of gods to donkeys, to exploding stars and exploding sea cucumbers – in Things That Are Amy Leach rekindles our communion with the world. This stunning debut will leave you with a deeper understanding of the universe and a greater sense of the magic that surrounds us.
Amy Leach grew up in Texas. She holds an MFA in creative nonfiction from the University of Iowa, and her work has appeared in numerous literary journals and reviews. She has been recognised with the Whiting Writers' Award and a Rona Jaffe Foundation Award. She lives in Montana.
"This book is a thing of wonder. Amy Leach has found delight in the details of the world, and taken exuberant pleasure in putting that delight into the most unexpected words. Each paragraph carries phrases to underline and read aloud; each page offers another way of seeing the world anew. A sheer delight"
– Jon McGregor
"No amount of viewings of Planet Earth will prepare you for Leach's vision or her style, her tumultuous, incantatory rejoicing in the astonishing multiplicity of the Earth [...] Buy this book for everyone you know"
– Olivia Laing, Observer
"Like a descendant of Lewis Carroll and Emily Dickinson, Amy Leach brings new meaning to the world without us, and within. A reader entering this book to learn more about the universe will exit knowing much more about her own self. At once large and intimate, [Things That Are] introduces one of the most exciting and original writers in America"
– Yiyun Li, author of Gold Boy, Emerald Girl and The Vagrants
"Things That Are is a joy. Every sentence is a surprise, bursting open like little pop-rocks"
– Brian Eno
"The 26 pieces here are short, pithy, and packed with information delivered in poetic but precise language. It is rich fare. Don't read too much in one sitting. These are the gold flakes you scatter on the rice dish of your everyday reading"
– Julian Gough, Guardian
"It's impossible not to be charmed by the way she finds the magical in the prosaic – but never loses sight of the science"
"Leach teases the written word like an elastic band, stretching time and belief and meaning [...] it's impossible to feel indifferent to her hymn-like prose that is reminiscent of a young Jeanette Winterson [...] you can't help but feel you've plunged down the rabbit hole with her in this unique book"
"This slim book from the American essayist Amy Leach is a rarity"
– Financial Times
"Leach's prose tumbles and cascades, sweeping the reader along"
– We Love This Book
"Of all the wondrous things that are catalogued in this brave little book, the most wondrously fresh and novel may be the uncanny Ms. Leach's own gamin-sly, rhythm-rhymey voice, and oh that flint-flighty, rapt-capacious mind of hers. Besides which, no one conjures a presenter present tense than she. Sheer scrambling delight"
– Lawrence Weschler, author of Mr Wilson's Cabinet of Wonder