Cover image for Into the tangle of friendship : a memoir of the things that matter
Title:
Into the tangle of friendship : a memoir of the things that matter
Author:
Kephart, Beth.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Boston : Houghton Mifflin, [2000]

©2000
Physical Description:
xvi, 204 pages ; 22 cm
Language:
English
Personal Subject:
Subject Term:
ISBN:
9780618033874
Format :
Book

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CT275.K45855 A3 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Summary

Summary

With her first book, A SLANT OF SUN, Beth Kephart wrote about parenting and drew us, in the words of the National Book Award jurors, "into a world of timeless and universal themes: the art of mothering, the cost of difference, and the difference one individual can make." In her second work of nonfiction, she again explores something we often take for granted -- friendship -- and invites us to see it as if for the first time.
Beginning with the rediscovery of a long-lost best friend, INTO THE TANGLE OF FRIENDSHIP follows the intertwining stories of a cast of characters for whom friendship is a saving grace. We meet a next-door neighbor facing the death of a spouse, watch two young boys learn what it means to be friends, and feel the heartache of a professional caregiver whose compassion and dedication ultimately come up short. Kephart is concerned with the haphazard ways we find one another, the tragedy, boredom, and sheer carelessness that break us apart, the myriad reasons people stay together and grow. What is friendship, and what is its secret calculus? Telling stories to illuminate this question, she also engages us in an essential dialogue about what it means to be fully alive.
Profound, original, and exquisitely written, INTO THE TANGLE OF FRIENDSHIP is a hymn to the intimate realities of our lives and what makes those lives not only worth living but magical. It will resonate with anyone who has ever had a friend, or lost one.


Author Notes

Beth Kephart's first book was a National Book Award finalist & was named a best book of the year by "Salon," the "Philadelphia Inquirer," & others. Kephart has won a 2000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the 1998 Leeway grant, & the 1997 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts top grant for fiction. Her essays & articles have appeared in magazine nationwide. She lives in Pennsylvania.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

"Friendship is a benefaction and a weight. It is an instruction and a tool, a risk, a therapeutic, a happenstance, a philosophy," writes Kephart (author of A Slant of Sun: One Child's Courage, a National Book Award finalist) in her intimate and expansive meditation about friendship, a topic she explores not only for herself but also in the hope of finding wisdom and guidance that she can impart to her almost-teenage son. As she learns through her own experiences and observations as a wife, mother, daughter, sister, co-worker and friendDand through the reflections of other authors (including Willa Cather, Truman Capote, William Maxwell)Dfriendship is essential to our being, but never perfect: it's both fragile and safe, alternately yields succor and despair, and is at times heavy with responsibilities and expectations. There can be friendships between virtual strangers, as Kephart finds in meeting Bambi, who welcomes the author into her church and web of friends. There is also that deep friendship, reinforced with trust, that is "the size of marriage." And there are friendships that require reciprocity, as Kephart discovers with Andre, who was among the first to believe in Kephart's writing and now, as Andre's husband lies dying on the other side of the world, needs Kephart's empathy. Most importantly, Kephart recognizes, after reuniting with her former best friend, Joanne, and while watching her young son play with his closest comrade, "you can't make old friends, ...you can only lose them, [and] in losing them, you lose part of yourself." Kephart's writing is luminous, filled with phrases so precise that they are worth committing to memory. Like Annie Dillard, Kephart is destined to attract a loyal and thoughtful following. Agent, Amy Rennert. First serial to Reader's Digest. 3-city author tour. (Sept. 14) [Originally intended to run in advance of publication, this review appears late due to a scheduling error.] (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

Kephart, a National Book Award finalist for A Slant of Sun, meditates on circumstances that promote and encourage friends to find each other, stay together, or drift apart, beginning with observation of her son interacting on a playgound: "Friendship is a benefaction and a weight?an instruction and a tool, a risk, a therapeutic, a happenstance, a philosophy. I must find the words to teach my son." Inspired by memories of childhood friends who opened her up to experiences beyond her family and neighborhood, she renews old bonds amuses no their meaning. As she relates details of her own intercultural romance and marriage, Kephart discusses friendships across cultural, ethnic, and language barriers. Remembering a former neighbor's encouragement early in her writing career, Kephart, painfully aware that she can never fully reciprocate this past kindness, offers support when this woman's husband is dying overseas. Unlike Ellen Goodman and Patricia O'Brien's I Know Just What You Mean (LJ 5/1/00), in which women share stories of friendship, Kephart in a single voice, lyrically and poignantly explores the dimensions of friendship. Recommended for public libraries. Kephart, a National Book Award finalist for A Slant of Sun, meditates on circumstances that promote and encourage friends to find each other, stay together, or drift apart, beginning with observation of her son interacting on a playgound: "Friendship is a benefaction and a weight?an instruction and a tool, a risk, a therapeutic, a happenstance, a philosophy. I must find the words to teach my son." Inspired by memories of childhood friends who opened her up to experiences beyond her family and neighborhood, she renews old bonds amuses no their meaning. As she relates details of her own intercultural romance and marriage, Kephart discusses friendships across cultural, ethnic, and language barriers. Remembering a former neighbor's encouragement early in her writing career, Kephart, painfully aware that she can never fully reciprocate this past kindness, offers support when this woman's husband is dying overseas. Unlike Ellen Goodman and Patricia O'Brien's I Know Just What You Mean (LJ 5/1/00), in which women share stories of friendship, Kephart in a single voice, lyrically and poignantly explores the dimensions of friendship. Recommended for public libraries. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Table of Contents

Prologuep. xi
1. Looping Back Inp. 1
2. Among Friendsp. 15
3. Reaching Outp. 30
4. Rescuep. 43
5. After Thoughtsp. 51
6. Nestingp. 64
7. Back Homep. 75
8. She Was There All Alongp. 91
9. Top of the Worldp. 100
10. A Sudden Turn of Eventsp. 111
11. Being Therep. 120
12. Snappingp. 135
13. Perfect Strangersp. 154
14. From Silence Growsp. 162
15. Correspondencep. 170
16. Faithp. 172
17. Passing Awayp. 180
18. River Wisep. 187
19. Rendezvousp. 194
Acknowledgmentsp. 203