A SABBATH LIFE by Kathleen Hirsch


One Woman’s Search for Wholeness
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A middle-aged yuppie’s overwritten account of her discovery that there’s more to life than a prestigious job.

As Hirsch (A Home in the Heart of the City, 1998) approached her 40s, she began to feel dissatisfied with her achievement-driven lifestyle. The sudden death of her younger brother sharpened her desire for a change, and her experience of pregnancy and the birth of her first child provided further impetus. Her search for a “Sabbath life” (meaning one that is “varied, fruitful, and, at day’s end rich in wisdom and peace”) led her to the library, to nature and gardening, to making good soup, trying various handicrafts, exploring her community, and connecting with other women. An admirer of Virginia Woolf, she set out to create a room of her own, but she realized that there was something stagy about her vision of it as a home to seedpods, birds’ nests, paintbrushes and good, thick paper, a basket for yarns, and a space on the floor for the baby to sit and play in the sunlight. She found analogies with life in the seasons of her backyard garden, in the structure of an apple she was slicing, and in a fruit compote she was aging and blending. There’s a good deal of high-flown rhetoric here—about finding one’s “self,” about harmony, spiritual growth, balance, wholeness, and the wisdom of the body—as she imagines herself and other (usually quite politically correct and aesthetically aware) women creating a “new reality.”

A humorless journey of self-discovery marked by annoying pretensions and an of superiority.

Pub Date: April 18th, 2001
ISBN: 0-86547-598-9
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2001


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