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Press

“Magnificent. … Conjure your favorite place in the natural world: beach, mountain, lake, forest, porch, windowsill rooftop? Precisely there is the best place in which to savor this book.”

―Barbara J. King for National Public Radio

“What books would I want to see included on summer-reading tables everywhere? Two perfect candidates were published this July: first, the much-lauded new novel The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead, the story of a hellish reform school in Florida, and a book of nonfiction by Margaret Renkl called Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss that examines a quiet life through the lens of family and the natural world. I don’t say this lightly, but both deserve to be read for as long as kids have been reading Of Mice and Men.” 

—Ann Patchett for The Wall Street Journal

“A compact glory, crosscutting between consummate family memoir and keenly observed backyard natural history. Renkl’s deft juxtapositions close up the gap between humans and nonhumans and revive our lost kinship with other living things. I hope lots of people will discover it when it’s published this summer.”

―Richard Powers for The New York Times Book Review

“[Renkl] guides us through a South lush with bluebirds, pecan orchards, and glasses of whiskey shared at dusk in this collection of prose in poetry-size bits; as it celebrates bounty, it also mourns the profound losses we face every day.”

O, the Oprah Magazine

“Renkl’s contemplations on life and the natural world are compact, luscious, and unexpected—in an instant, they can weave from crushing tragedy to transcendent joy and then simply pause and listen.”

—Nate McNamara for The Literary Hub 

“The Fleeting Kingdom of Heaven” (an excerpt from Late Migrations)

Oxford American

“Graceful. … Like a belated answer to [E.B.] White.”

―Danny Heitman for The Wall Street Journal

“In her poignant debut, a memoir, Renkl weaves together observations from her current home in Nashville and short vignettes of nature and growing up in the South.”

—C.J. Lotz for Garden & Gun

“A book that will be treasured.”

―Pamela Miller for the Minneapolis Star Tribune

“The ordinary becomes filled with wonderment and loss, and we discover that the shadow side of love is part of the life we all share.”

—a Q&A with Sally Wizik Wills for the American Booksellers Association

“Contemplative yet powerful. … Renkl is so in touch with the birds and butterflies of her yard that one could mistake her for a trained naturalist.”

—Carla Jean Whitley in BookPage (starred review)

“I can’t help but compile a list of people I want to gift with Late Migrations. I want them to emerge from it, as I did, ready to apprehend the world freshly, better able to perceive its connections and absorb its lessons.”

—Beth Ann Fennelly’s review in Chapter 16

“Margaret Renkl’s Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss is a quiet but stunning collection of essays merging the natural landscapes of Alabama and Tennessee with generations of family history, grief and renewal. Renkl’s voice sounds very close to the reader’s ear: intimate, confiding, candid and alert.”

―Julia Kastner’s starred review in Shelf Awareness

“This warm, rich memoir might be the sleeper of the summer. She grew up in the South, nursed her aging parents, and never once lost her love for life, light, and the natural world. Beautiful is the word, beautiful all the way through.”

—John Timpane’s review in The Philadelphia Inquirer

“In this magnificent debut, essayist Renkl interweaves the natural world of her backyard in Nashville with memories of her childhood and family members. … Readers will savor each page and the many gems of wisdom they contain.”

— Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“It is a fine feat, this book. Renkl intimately knows that ‘this life thrives on death’ and chooses to sing the glory of being alive all the same.”

— Joan Curbow’s review in Booklist

“This is memoir by way of adjacencies. This is the story of a tight-knit clan and their red-dirt roads, their abiding dogs, their rainstorms, their birds, their living in-between the dying. This is the story of grief accelerated by beauty and beauty made richer by grief. This is scout bees, bluebirds, ragged foxes, fur-lined bunny nests, and yes, of course, those migrating butterflies. It is the story of a girl, now a woman, who watches it all through the window of her life.”

―Q&A with Beth Kephart in The Rumpus

“A series of redolent snapshots and memories that seem to halt time.”

Kirkus Reviews

“[Renkl′s] vision is dark – radiant – peaceful – mournful – and joyful, all at once. It is a gift to those of us who look at the small worlds we inhabit – our families, our backyards – and try to make sense of all the pain, and all the joy.”

—Jennifer Puryear for Bacon on the Bookshelf