Drawing from the physical and spiritual terrain that she has inhabited throughout her life—predominantly around Minneapolis, Minnesota—the author leads the reader on an honest, subtle quest toward a contemplative life in contemporary society.
Elizabeth J. Andrew’s meditations turn to the details of household maintenance—the cluttered pantry, the loose-screened porch, the dim bedroom—and to neighborly relations, using lath-and-plaster language to address the sometimes empty, sometimes exuberant, seasons of the spiritual life. Occasionally whimsical and always introspective, On the Threshold connects the commonplace to an interior realm of doubt, memory, imagination, and prayer.
A New Yorker by birth, Andrew moved to Minnesota in her 20s, eventually buying a friend's white bungalow in south Minneapolis. The house—with its peeling screen door; conservative neighbor, Evelyn; and checkerboard-style, claw-footed bathtub with red painted toenails—quickly became a source of reflection and the subject of many of the 38 essays in this collection: "This is my spiritual discipline, this reading of my house for heart and meaning." For Andrew—author of Writing the Sacred Journey and Swinging on the Garden Gate, a memoir about being bisexual and Christian—the physical universe is a springboard into spiritual realities: "Irrevocable, indisputable experience continues to unleash mysteries." Foundations and basements lead to "engagement with the mystery lurking at the root of all things." Falling chunks of plaster hint that "by tending the temporary, we touch what's eternal." Dad brings his tools to fix the front porch, and "we work on a house that... is really the soul we, side by side, are learning to tend." Beyond the bungalow, she swims in a northern Minnesota lake, worships in a church at the base of the Witch's Hat water tower, listens to whistling trains and finds love. Adroitly interweaving story, description and reflection, these introspective essays will appeal to those who savor language and recognize the sacred at the heart of everyday experience. (Apr. 12)
--Publishers Weekly, 2/14/05
Views from the Loft
My Red Couch and Other Stories of a Feminist Faith
On the Threshold: Home, Hardwood, & Holiness
Swinging on the Garden Gate: A Spiritual Memoir
Writing the Sacred Journey: The Art and Practice of Spiritual Memoir