Bookmarks: Flexible non-fiction

By: Laura Antonucci, Columnist

“Limber” is a collection of essays in the creative non-fiction style. Creative non-fiction is a difficult genre and the difficulty lies in the presentation of the material. However, author Angela Pelster avoids this problem in “Limber” as she weaves together stories of people, places and personal experience while contemplating the lives of trees.

From the opening essay, “Les Oiseaux,” Pelster drops the reader into moments. “Les Oiseaux,” which means “the birds” does not whack the reader over the head with obvious, cheap metaphors. Although the tree is not the immediate subject in this first essay like in her later essays, “Les Oiseaux,” establishes the tone and pace the rest of the essays should be read with.

“Limber” is never an overwhelming read and brings the reader along seamlessly into whatever territory Pelster leads them to. Whether it is the grotesque yet stunning story of a young a boy who loses his eye in “Ethan Lockwood,” the realm of magical realism present in “Moon Trees” or Pelster’s own backyard in “Rot” her style is constant and versatile.

Pelster is not just a writing teacher: she is a contemplator of strange connections. She is a person unafraid to articulate the weird thoughts that other people may avoid thinking about, much less talking about out of fear of seeming distasteful. What makes “Limber” practically magical is not just connecting the dots between weird ideas, it’s how Pelster presents them as layers of life unfolding. “Limber” moves the reader through different aspects of humanity and by the final page, the reader has a new set of eyes to spy their own life-connections with.

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