ALL THE POWERFUL INVISIBLE THINGS: A Sportswoman's Notebook by Gretchen Legler
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ALL THE POWERFUL INVISIBLE THINGS: A Sportswoman's Notebook

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The awesome vision of a woman tearing herself down to the bone and then slowly, painstakingly, recreating herself in her own image. Pushcart Prize winner Legler (Creative Writing/Univ. of Alaska) is violently angry at herself and her surroundings. Even as she fishes and hunts with her gentle, loving husband, she feels defensive, insecure, and alone. Legler reveals bits of what disturbs her--the dawning awareness of her precarious place among sportsmen, the inability to penetrate her father's unloving exterior, her sister's suicide--but it is not until nearly halfway through the book that we learn Legler's looming secret: her lesbianism. Suddenly, the fragments of her personality converge--for us. For Legler, the process is more gradual and painful. She decides to leave her husband; she begins to date women. Her family is neither unkind nor understanding. In the end, Legler is still not completely happy with herself, but she has found some measure of peace and strong, lasting friendships. Through it ali, the author hunts and fishes. But like her sexuality, these activities are tinged with ambivalence. She tries to explain how a seemingly cruel act can be transformed through respect and gratitude. Legler hits upon a provoking idea, comparing her hunting with eroticism and the dismembered meat in the supermarket with pornography. ""Nearly everything we cooked for our feasts was from our garden, or collected from the woods, or killed by us. . . . I want this kind of intimate relationship with the food I eat."" Birds in the supermarket, on the other hand, were ""grotesque combinations of named parts. It always felt obscene to me."" Although these essays are ostensibly distinct, together they create a sense of process that makes this book exceptional. Legler's epiphanies are book-length--and longer. What this volume evokes is beyond sympathy; the reader aches for Legler's pain.

Pub Date: Nov. 15th, 1995
ISBN: 1878067699
Page count: 180pp
Publisher: Seal