Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

IN BRIEF

Nonfiction

November 10, 1996|SUSAN SALTER REYNOLDS

HAWK FLIES ABOVE: Journey to the Heart of the Sandhills, a Memoir by Lisa Dale Norton (Picador: $22, 212 pp.). Like Chappell, who writes (above) about a place he knew in his childhood, Lisa Dale Norton goes back to the village in Nebraska where she grew up: "Ericson, Nebraska: population 100; fading cow town, dusty, forgotten wayside resort . . . . Ericson hangs on the eastern edge of the great sandhills region."

A wanderer by nature, Norton hovers over her familiar landscape, zeroing in on the cottonwoods, the wildflowers, the ferruginous hawk and the Ogallala Aquifer. She circles and circles, drinks, takes drugs and, traveling to Miami to visit an old friend, is raped. She decides to live, to live in the Sandhills, and to write about them.

Her story is lovely but labored.

When she writes: "I wanted to be clear; I wanted to know myself; I wanted to claim my story," we are made unfortunately aware of how disproportionately a childhood can loom and how difficult it is to go back--to nature, to childhood, to anything resembling a clarity that probably never existed.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|