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Reviews of The Small Heart of Things:

“The message of finding wonder in our surroundings, as familiar as it may seem, is fresh here. The prose soothes. The pages absorb you. Hoffman’s world is endlessly instructive and inclusive. It’s our world, too, if we wish to see it that way. An environment on its own is uninflected, but it becomes a home when we attach experience to it. Any place—and every place—can be a home. The Small Heart of Things is a celebration of spaces and the hidden, miraculous lives within them, but it’s a quiet celebration, the pause after you open a gift, truly surprised, and inhabit a speechless moment.”
~ Scott Onak’s full review can be read here at The Rumpus

“In writing this remarkable work of environmental and natural-history literature, Hoffman resided in the Prespa Lakes Transboundary Park shared by Greece, Albania, and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. These seventeen short essays capture an intensely focused, curious, tireless, supremely gifted writer as he acquaints himself with himself and one of the world’s most unique places.”
~ Matt Sutherland’s full review can be read here at ForeWord Reviews

“What makes Hoffman’s plea for a deeper engagement with the natural world so arresting is that this engagement doesn’t come at the expense of a relationship with the often-messy political and social environments of a place, but rather strengthens it. Hoffman’s tranquility is not a passive retreat from our tumultuously loud, permanently distracted era; his project is to exert a compassionate mindfulness in the face of apathy—apathy toward the environment, or toward overlooked or forgotten populations.”
~ Caitlin Keefe Moran’s full review can be read here at The Iowa Review

“In his essays, Hoffman encounters bear tracks and caterpillars, eagles and salamanders, shepherds and immigrant workers, beavers and moths, Turkmen traders and a mysterious man with a limp. Every one of these encounters, and the many others described in this highly enjoyable book, leave a lasting impression—both on Hoffman, and, by way of him, on us. This is a book that demonstrates the value of paying attention. Highly recommended.”
~ Richard Carter’s full review can be read on his website

“Each handcrafted story shows us how the doors of our perception are opened, if, like the author, we pay loving attention to the places around us. Our universal human capacity for attention, when finely honed, as in this wordsmith’s collection, enables us to see the beauty in the ordinary as in the marvellous…essays in perception, intelligent and ethical perception.”
~ Revd. Shaun Lambert’s full review can be read here at The Baptist Times

“It is a book that revels in the slow consideration of people, places and change. Unlike the TVs in the living rooms of the world, The Small Heart of Things takes its time with images, ideas and impressions. It is the big picture, on the small page…These stories about Prespa can tell us a lot about our world, if we care to listen and learn. It is about “the resonance of place,” wherever we happen to make our personal connections with place.”
~ Lorne Daniel’s full review can be read here at Writing: Place 


Playlist:

Brenna Dixon, the former managing editor of Flyway: Journal of Writing & Environment, put together a playlist of beautiful music for The Small Heart of Things on the Ploughshares blog recently.


Praise for The Small Heart of Things:

“Julian Hoffman’s vast knowledge of the natural world is surpassed only by his deep compassion for all beings – human and otherwise – who inhabit this planet we all share. The Small Heart of Things is a big-hearted book written in prose as clear and strong as the stunningly beautiful Greek landscape it describes.”
~BK Loren, author of Theft: a Novel

“This writer is a seeker and seer among those who work the land within the cycles of time. He knows how to listen and not simply catalog nature, both human and wild, but create a tapestry of embodied stories born out of the intimate wisdom of sweat and hunger and an earthly intelligence. At a time when we wonder where hope resides, this is a book of faith in the natural histories of community, broken and sustained. Not only does the language honor the encountered beauties along the way, it explores a complexity of ideas that reminds us we are not strangers in the world if we remain open to awe and respectful of the tenacious spirit required to live in place. The Small Heart of Things is a book of patience.”
~Terry Tempest Williams, author of Finding Beauty in a Broken World

“‘To be at home in the world is to let ourselves be drawn into its embrace,’ writes Julian Hoffman in this sparkling, humane collection of essays. Something similar can be said about reading his exquisite book—we’re drawn into the warmth and intimacy of his meditations. Part travel writing, part environmental witness, part celebration of the human spirit in the more-than-human world, this book guides us to a distant landscape of borders visible and invisible and of enriching change. Throughout, Hoffman is a superb tour guide: observant, knowledgeable, and deftly surprising in the connections he makes among the myriad small things he enables us to see.”
~Elizabeth Dodd, author of Horizon’s Lens

“A sharply observed…deeply felt book that will lead readers to other books that inspired it.” ~ Kirkus Reviews

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