You can feel it in the rhythm of the words sometimes. It helped that I was working in Philadelphia and had great libraries available to me. The works that appear in all of these are not so dissimilar – 2 , 3 , and 4 are simply biographies of something besides people. This is something you either get or you don’t. It seems thrown together, and the appeal of this mishmash is uneven.

Haven’t read the whole book, but I do not hesitate to rate anything by McPhee at the highest rank. So I need to get to work again. He breaks it against the revetment bordering the Gordon Promenade, in the Riverside Leisure Area, with benches and lawns under oaks and chestnuts, prams and children, picnics under way, newspapers spread like sails, and, far up the bank, a stall selling ice cream. I’m not sure why I didn’t read it in I was sent a copy of his most recent book of essays: But then there were some others.

In the nine other pieces here—highly varied in length and theme—McPhee mcpnee with his characteristic humor and intensity through lacrosse, long-exposure view-camera photography, the weird foods he has sometimes been served in the course of his reportorial travels, a U. To date, I have read a dozen of McPhee’s books, and I’m not finished yet. Almost any excuse will do–these essays are full of generosity of spirit, genuine curiosity into memory, the perspectives of others, and the reality of mcpgee and existence.

Silk Parachute

McPhee writes on a myriad of topics—from childhood his to the rules of La Crosse. Funnier than his earlier works. He has a marvelous way of leading the reader patiently down into the weeds of whatever topic he has chosen, and once he is jphn there, teaching you something. Quotes from Silk Parachute.


John McPhee has a rare talent to make interesting topics you wouldn’t think could be. Mar 11, Rob Melich rated it really liked it. In the span of their work together, words by the tens of thousands, in every conceivable category, have been muffled by the dark cloth.

Narrative non-fiction, slowly, meticulously, almost wondrously crafted. It doesn’t help that I have little interest in either lacrosse joohn golf, but McPhee used to be able to hold my interest in even things that I wouldn’t be inclined to read about. So now it has been seven years between reading books by McPhee.

‘Silk Parachute: Essays’: John McPhee’s evocation of family, friends and places

Feb 07, Al rated it it was ok. What strikes me most, especially about the longer pieces in the book, is the lack of structure in McPhee’s essays. Others, farther out on the wide river, are moored afloat—skiffs, sloops, a yawl or two. He called, demanding a correction.

silk parachute essay by john mcphee

But each piece—on whatever theme—contains somewhere a personal aspect in which McPhee suggests why he was attracted to write about the subject, and each opens like a silk parachute, lofted skyward and suddenly blossoming with color and form. In this collection of essays, he takes us on tours of the chalky Cretaceous deposits that underly the English Channel and spans Southern England and Northern France, the history and emerging popularity of lacrosse, the painstaking process of capturing images with a Deardorff camera, and the thorough nature of the New Yorker fact checking team to name exsay few.

Nov 10, William J. But this is something McPhee has long stayed away from.

Silk Parachute by John McPhee

With every essay, I thought “He would like this” or “She has to read this. My favorite nonfiction writer: Entertaining collection of McPhee’s essays. Then I looked in the Parchute Yorker’s digital archive and realized he’d written a piece called “Season on the Chalk,” about the chalk landscapes of Europe, including bits about geology and wine-making and WWII history, which I’d entirely forgotten about until I saw it there.


I fervently hope Mr. I did need to know about them! All mchpee of experiences can be the triggers for the sorts of personal essays a Like several of the author’s books, this particular volume is a collection of somewhat disparate essays of different lengths and content.

silk parachute essay by john mcphee

And lacrosse has never appealed to me before. It seems thrown together, and the appeal of this mishmash is uneven. The first, “Silk Parachute,” is apparently the most anthologized of McPhee’s writings, and it refers to his own memories of his mother and of his own childhood.

‘Silk Parachute: Essays’: John McPhee’s evocation of family, friends and places | The Seattle Times

But my favorite pieces are two short memoir-type essays, one on canoeing and one the title essay. Jul 09, Lenora Good rated it it was amazing.

silk parachute essay by john mcphee

Jan 23, Jon rated it really liked it. Many of his essays are long, book length, single topic Oranges is onethis is a compilation of shorter ones. Here’s the start of that essay, which is included in this book: Nov 22, Darwin8u rated it really liked it Shelves: